Leeds nurse convicted of murdering four pensioners is ‘hopeful’ over new evidence

Colin Norris

Colin Norris

A LEEDS nurse convicted of murdering four elderly women and attempting to kill another is “hopeful” new scientific evidence will be sent back to the courts, according to a justice campaigner.

Colin Norris was jailed for life with a minimum 30-year term in 2008 for murdering four patients and attempting to kill a fifth while working at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital in 2002.

A jury convicted Norris after being told he had injected them with lethal doses of insulin. But Norris has always protested his innocence and denied injecting patients.

Norris was convicted of the attempted murder of Vera Wilby, 90, along with the murders of Doris Ludlam, 80, Ethel Hall, 86, Bridget Bourke, 88, and Irene Crookes, 79.

Justice campaigner Paul May, who chaired the London-based campaign for the Birmingham Six from 1985 until the men’s release in 1991, said he believes the four patients died from natural causes and is convinced Norris is innocent.

Mr May is representing Norris in his application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, who have been considering new scientific evidence in the case since late 2011.

Speaking yesterday, on the 25th anniversary of the day the six men wrongly convicted of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings walked free from prison, Mr May said: “The scientific evidence which convicted Colin indicated low blood sugar among people who do not have diabetes is very rare. Back in 2008 it was considered to be very rare, recent research shows it is not at all rare.

“We think the commission should refer the case back to the Court of Appeal for the evidence to be examined in detail by the court.”

Mr May, who has regularly visited Norris over the past four years at high-security prison HMP Frankland in Durham, said: “I have formed my own impression of him and the one thing I can say with reasonable confidence is that Colin is not a murderer. He is hopeful that the new evidence will be sent back to the courts.

“He is remaining very positive and he is hoping to get a positive decision from the Criminal cases Review Commission.”

Mr May added: “He is a very mild-mannered individual. He works on his wing as a mentor to other prisoners, helping them with various problems.

“He is optimistic and basically he is looking forward to getting out of prison. I’m confident that Colin is not a murderer. For anybody to commit the crimes he is convicted of they would have to have a severe personality disorder. In other words, they would have to be a psychopath. Colin is nothing of the kind. He really doesn’t understand what’s happened and why it has happened. He ended up being convicted and sentenced to a very long time in prison for doing his job. This could happen to any nurse in any hospital.”

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Norris was arrested, prosecuted and, on the basis of the evidence presented to the court, he was convicted and sentenced. His conviction was upheld at the Court of Appeal in December 2009. The case is currently under review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission and we will consider their findings when they are presented to us.” A spokesman for the Criminal Cases Review Commission said: “ “We are not in a position to predict how long individual cases are likely to take to conclude, but Mr Norris’ case is being actively worked on.”