Sydney nursing home fire: Nurse pleads guilty to 11 counts of murder


Police establish an investigation after a fire engulfed a nursing home for the elderly, killing at least three and seriously injuring eight, near Sydney on November 18, 2011. Hundreds of firefighters, police and paramedics raced to the Quakers Hill Nursing Home when an automatic fire alarm went off.


Torsten Blackwood

A nurse who started a fire at a Sydney nursing home pleaded guilty to 11 counts of murder on Monday.

Roger Dean, 37, also pleaded guilty to eight counts of grievous bodily harm in the 2011 blaze. The registered nurse was on duty when he set fire to the nursing home and later appeared on TV to describe his efforts to rescue people trapped inside the Quakers Hill building.

The fire engulfed the building, which was home to dozens of elderly residents, with firefighters battling flames and smoke to evacuate the more than 80 residents who were inside.

Five people died at the scene or in the immediate aftermath of the fire and six more died later as a result of their injuries.

More from GlobalPost: Australian nurse charged with murder in fatal fire at Sydney aged care facility (VIDEO)

Elly Valkay, whose mother, Neeltje Valkay was killed in the blaze, said she was pleased that justice would be done.

"It wasn't happiness of course, I still miss my mother very much and the rest of our family miss her greatly, especially her grandchildren," she said. "It was, I think, joy in my heart to see that my mother would say 'yes justice is going to be done and we're going to see it.'"

"I saw her six days a week," she added. "I still do the wrong left hand turn to go home and go past the nursing home. There has been upheaval in our family because we miss her so much. There has been nights of no sleep... I still have nightmares."

Dean's sentencing hearing starts on Thursday. He faces up to life in prison.

The nurse had been questioned by police at his home hours before the fire over theft allegations. He has already pleaded guilty to stealing prescription drugs from the nursing home.