The Jury Room: Case 5 - Ben Geen
By Dave Macleod, Friday 26th May 2017

Between December 2003 and February 2004, at Horton hospital in the market town of Banbury, 18 patients became inexplicably ill. There was no connection between the respiratory attacks they suffered and the relatively minor illnesses for which they were admitted to hospital.  Patients were mostly elderly and would go into a sudden decline, leaving them fighting for their lives. Two died from what has been described as ‘dry drowning’.

Staff became suspicious, it seemed that someone on the ward might be responsible, constituting the ultimate abuse of a position of trust.  They found that of the 18 cases, Ben Geen was the only nurse on duty on every occasion.

The police were called and when they arrived at the hospital on 9th February 2004 to arrest him, they found a syringe he had in his pocket which had been filled with Vecuronium, a muscle relaxant. They also found traces of a sedative, Midazolam. Ben Geen claimed he must have taken the syringe home in error.

Various drugs were found to be in the system of the victims which had not been prescribed by the doctors in the hospital. These drugs included both Vecuronium and Midazolam, the same drugs found on Geen. It was the prosecution’s case that he had administered those drugs and others, to patients, so he could feel the adrenaline rush of trying to revive them. The court heard that Geen "came alive" and looked "elated" as his patients went into respiratory arrest

He was convicted of killing two patients and causing grievous bodily harm to 15 others. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum recommendation of 30 years for the two murders and eight years on the other counts.

His 2009 appeal failed as the judge felt there was no new evidence to undermine his original conviction. However his campaigners say he has been found guilty of murders and attacks which never actually happened and that hospital hysteria and unreliable evidence led to the conviction of an innocent nurse. Dutch and British statistic experts have said that if you consider a larger number of hospitals, rather than just this small hospital in Oxfordshire, fatal or near fatal episodes amongst the elderly actually occur at high rates. Bringing into question the prosecutions original assertion that the respiratory attacks had to be the result of a deliberate attacker. If this is the case, Ben Geen could be an innocent man who has been the victim of misread statistics, serving time for deaths which were potentially just due to natural causes.

Click here for more information about The Jury Room on CBS Reality, including the podcast, gallery and cast video biographies.

Related show tags: THE JURY ROOM
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Murder Wall
Monday 27 September
10.00 PM
Fatal Vows
Friday 1 October
9.00 PM
Medical Detectives
Saturday 2 October
10.00 PM