She fell unconscious shortly after, until about 6:20 pm
An Australian Indian nurse allegedly stole several vials of a powerful sedative from a hospital pharmacy before using it to poison his wife.
Ugendra Singh, aged 45, was arrested and charged in May 2020 after his wife told police she had fallen unconscious for eight hours immediately after her husband injected her with a substance he’d led her to believe was saline.
On July 31, 2020, Sydney Supreme Court heard that Singh worked in the intensive care unit at Liverpool Hospital for 20 years.
Sometime between April 4 and May 3, 2020, he allegedly stole several vials of the drug Propofol from the pharmacy attached to the ICU.
Propofol made headlines in 2009 when a Los Angeles coroner blamed it for the death of Michael Jackson, who had a cocktail of prescription drugs in his system when he died.
The drug is an anaesthetic administered intravenously and commonly used for hospital procedures.
Singh has been charged with four offences, including poisoning to endanger life and common assault.
On May 5, Joytika Lata allegedly complained of feeling dehydrated and lay down in the living room of the couple’s home.
Singh reportedly told her that he would administer a saline solution intravenously.
He inserted a cannula into Ms Lata’s arm. She fell unconscious shortly after, until about 6:20 pm when she awoke feeling “groggy”.
Ms Lata allegedly saw vials of Propofol on the floor. After realising it was a sedative, she confronted her husband and the pair had a “heated verbal argument” during which time Singh slapped her in the face.
Singh was later arrested. During an interview, the Australian Indian nurse admitted to stealing the hospital drug but claimed he intended to use it on “pests and vermin” at his home because he could not afford an exterminator.
However, Singh denied inserting the cannula into his wife’s arm and denied slapping her.
CCTV footage showed Singh retrieving boxes of medication from the boot of his car that were consistent with Propofol while being “seen to regularly check his surroundings consistent with a concern that people may be watching him”.
Judge Geoffrey Bellew accepted that Singh had a limited criminal record and had several character references, including from colleagues who had “pledged support” for him.
However, he noted the “serious allegations” come against the background of a “turbulent” history between the accused and his wife, which “gives rise in my view to a risk of reoffending”.
He said there is also before the court from the Crown’s brief “at least prima facie evidence that the applicant has been dishonest”, in terms of the crimes alleged, Singh’s conflicting statements to police, and his “acting surreptitiously” while unloading the boxes from the car.
Justice Bellew said given this he had “serious concerns” about whether Singh would comply with the bail conditions, therefore it was denied.
Singh is set to appear before Mt Druitt Local Court on August 14, 2020.