Trial opens of nurse accused of killing Alzheimer's patient

Posted Jun 2, 2010 by Johnny Summerton
The trial has opened in France of Véronique Metelo, a nurse accused of fatally poisoning and robbing an elderly patient suffering from Alzheimer's.
On Tuesday the trial opened in Viry-Châtillon, a town in the southern suburbs of the French capital, of Véronique Metelo.
The 54-year-old nurse is accused of having administered a lethal dose of morphine and robbing Simone Bordenave, a patient she was looking after in 2007.
The 76-year-old was found dead in Metelo's home in August of that year just days after the nurse had convinced the elderly woman's son that his mother, who suffered from Alzheimer's, needed around-the-clock care and she would look after her personally.
Bordenave apparently died of cardio-respiratory failure but an autopsy revealed high doses of morphine, "twice the lethal level" according to the prosecution.
As well as administering the overdose, the prosecution says that Metelo helped herself to €12,000 of her elderly patient's money, having her sign cheques and hand over her bank card which she then used to buy herself perfume, jewellery and household electrical goods;
As a report on TF1's prime time news on the opening of the trial highlighted, as far as the prosecution was concerned a number of questions remain unanswered.
Why, at the time, had Metelo been so insistent that the only way to look after Bordenave properly was to have the elderly woman live with her?
And why over the past couple of years the only answer she had given to explain the high levels of morphine revealed in the autopsy had been that she "didn't know"?
Speaking to reporters Metelo's lawyer, Patrick Arapian, insisted that the high levels of morphine had been the result of an error, and while cash withdrawals had been made they were far from being anywhere near €12,000.
"There's no denying that my client used some money to make personal purchases," he said.
"But the amounts are far less than has been claimed," he added.
The trial is expected to last until Thursday.
If found guilty, Metelo could face a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.