The 31 years old Laura Howe was first diagnosed with leukemia at the tender age of nine years. Consequently, she had to undergo two years of extensive treatment including a bone marrow transplant. When 13, she was diagnosed for the3rd time and was given a 15% chance of surviving. Her tough childhood was why she wanted to aid children fighting leukemia when she grew up. However, she has now been found guilty of theft of medication the purpose of which was to lessen the pains of sick children at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. It was found in court how Laura Howe started using painkillers to deal with the mental issues she was suffering from including depression, and then adding water to the liquid codeine bottles, greatly diluting them, and leaving them in the stock room where they could then be given to the sick children.
Following a year of this routine, she was caught in the act of stealing and dismissed from the job (she has now been allowed to continue her employment).
The North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court’s prosecutor, Rachel Glover told the court how hospital staff noticed the medicines intended for the children had been tampered with. The previous year in July, a nurse noticed how the viscosity of the liquid codeine was a bit off. Following tests run on the medicine, it was discovered that the strength of codeine in the bottles was 71%, 45%, and 21%. The incident was repeated when the bottles were replaced hence it was decided that a CCTV be placed. It proved to be successful since Howe was caught red-handed. She was then questioned by her bosses at the Royal Victoria Infirmary and she confessed. Mitigate, Sophie Allinson stated how Howe’s sad past was the reason she administered the drug. Laura Howe is set to be sentenced on the 28th of August at Newcastle Crown Court.