Life sentence for Quakers Hill nursing home fire deaths
ROGER Dean has been sentenced to life in jail over a fire at the Quakers Hill nursing home which claimed the lives of 11 elderly residents.
The disturbed aged-care nurse held a cigarette lighter to a set of bed sheets, causing a fire to rip through a series of rooms where helpless residents were sleeping in November, 2011.
Five bodies were discovered following the fire and six other residents later died from their injuries in hospital.
Justice Megan Latham noted many of those caught in the blaze were bed-ridden and forced to face the prospect of being burnt alive or suffocating to death.
She said a worse fate was hard to imagine and the pain and terror experienced by victims "must have been horrific".
Dean was nursing manager on the night of the fire.
Earlier this year, video was released of Dean stealing prescription painkillers from a locked medication room in the days leading up to the tragedy.
The court heard that when Dean discovered he could no longer get into the locked room, he realised nurses and police were on to him and lit the fire to destroy drug registry books.
Families of the deceased packed the Sydney Supreme Court on Thursday to see the life sentence delivered.
The victims, all aged between 73 and 97, were Dorothy Wu, Neeltje Valkay, Alma Smith, Reginald Green, Lola Bennett, Ella Wood, Urbana Alipio, Caesar Galea, Doris Becke, Dorothy Sterling and Verna Webeck.