Nurse admits stealing hundreds of painkillers from Causeway Hospital
A staff nurse has pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of painkillers from a major Northern Ireland hospital.
Emma King (36), formerly of Lyttlesdale in Garvagh, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates' Court yesterday and admitted two charges of theft as an employee and a judge asked for a pre-sentence report as he said it was a "breach of trust" case.
The defendant took 982 Co-Codamol tablets - used for pain relief - worth £80 from the Causeway Hospital situated in Coleraine between June 15 and September 11 last year.
During the same period King also took a quantity of Gabapentin Medreich of unknown value from the hospital.
It is used to treat epilepsy and as pain relief.
District Judge Liam McNally said because of the amount of tablets and the defendant having previously been cautioned for theft, he wanted a pre-sentence report. I need to get some background, I think it is an important case," he said.
Defence solicitor Fergus McIntosh said his client has a new address from that listed on the court papers, but it was not stated publicly in court. He said she is now living apart from her husband which was "one of the consequences of what happened".
The lawyer said King, a staff nurse, has been suspended on full pay. The case has been adjourned to May when King is due to be sentenced.
A spokeswoman for the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, which is responsible for the Causeway Hospital, said after the case yesterday: "Due to ongoing legal proceedings the Trust is not in a position to comment."
The Causeway Hospital, situated on the outskirts of Coleraine, is one of the busiest in Northern Ireland.
It covers a wide part of the country, taking in the north coast and beyond.
It also deals with any cases of injury from the North West 200 motorcycle races in May, the biggest tourist event in Northern Ireland.