Australian gets life for burning elderly

2013-08-01 13:01
 Roger Dean is helped by paramedics after the fire. (File, AFP)

Roger Dean is helped by paramedics after the fire. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Sydney — A nurse who set a Sydney nursing home on fire, killing 11 residents and wounding several others, was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison, with the judge slamming the man's actions as heinous and reprehensible.

Roger Dean, aged 37, showed no reaction as New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Megan Latham handed him the maximum sentence for setting two fires that engulfed the nursing home in the Sydney suburb of Quakers Hill on 18 November 2011. Dean pleaded guilty in May to 11 counts of murder and eight counts of grievous bodily harm.

Police said Dean, who started one blaze in a bedroom where two residents were sleeping, lit the fires after discovering he was under police investigation for stealing more than 200 prescription pills from the home. The fire was an apparent attempt to destroy evidence in the case.

Dean told officials that lighting the fire was stupid, and blamed his actions on the devil.

"You won't believe it, but it was like Satan saying to me that it's the right thing to do," he said in a videotaped interview with police. "I love the residents very much and I have a really good rapport with them. So I feel extremely bad and I just feel evil — that I'm just corrupted with evil thoughts that had made me do that."

During the sentencing hearing, psychiatrist Michael Diamond, who examined Dean's recorded police interview, said there was no indication Dean was confused, delusional or withdrawing from medication after the fire.

Cheers at sentencing

On Thursday, the judge described Dean's actions as "heinous", ''atrocious" and "greatly reprehensible".

"The pain and terror experienced by all of the victims must have been horrific," Latham said. "For those who were unable to move independently and who faced the prospect of being burned alive or suffocated by smoke, a worse fate is hard to imagine."

Dean gave an interview to reporters who were at the nursing home shortly after the fire, painting himself as a heroic rescuer.

"The smoke is just overwhelming, but we got a lot of people out so that's the main thing," he breathlessly told a television news crew.

Dozens of the victims' friends and family members, some wearing pins with their loved ones' photos, filled the courtroom on Thursday. One woman watching the proceedings collapsed and had to be carried out by court officials.

Life not harsh enough


After the sentence, several of the victims' loved ones cheered and hugged outside court.

Elly Valkay, whose 90-year-old mother Neeltje Valkay, died in the fire, called Dean's sentence "wonderful".

"I hope he suffers as much in jail as my mother suffered in the last days of her life, which was horrendous," Valkay told reporters.

Amanda Tucker, whose 80-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Sterling, was killed in the fire, said a life sentence wasn't a harsh enough punishment.

"Every time we picture my nana, we wonder whether she was in pain or if she was scared or screaming or needing help," Tucker told reporters outside court. "He walked straight past her and didn't help ... so a life sentence is never going to be good enough. ... It's never going to take the pain away from any of these families."

- AP

Read more on:    australia
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Who won? Let the News24 App notify you!

Not only can you stay up to date with the latest elections news, you can also get notification of results during the results phase with our easy-to-use app.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Brackenfell - 16:10 PM
    Road name: Frans Conradie Drive Eastbound
    DELAYS approaching Okavango Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 16:04 PM
    Road name: De Waal Drive Outbound
    SLOW TRAFFIC approaching Hospital Bend
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Mobile iDrifta

The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile DVB-H receiver...

From R445.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.