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Frenchwoman held over multiple pensioner poisoning
Agence France Presse
A picture taken on September 16, 2010, shows the Mont Blanc in the French Alps. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-PIERRE CLATO
A picture taken on September 16, 2010, shows the Mont Blanc in the French Alps. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-PIERRE CLATO
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GRENOBLE, France: A French care worker has been arrested on suspicion of fatally poisoning six pensioners in a retirement home in Chambery in the French Alps, police said Thursday.

The 30-year-old woman was to appear before a judge later in the day to learn what, if any, charges she will face in connection with the deaths, all of which occurred since the start of October.

"The suspect has admitted that she wanted to relieve the suffering of six people who have died since the beginning of October, she does not admit having wanted to kill them," a police source said. "The case turns on whether there was homicidal intent."

All of the suspected victims were described as being very elderly and in poor health.

The suspect was arrested on Tuesday, initially only in connection with the death of an 84-year-old woman who fell into a coma on November 27 for no apparent reason and died two days later in the Chambery Hospital Centre.

The centre said in a statement that the doctor who oversaw the Cesalet retirement home on the outskirts of Chambery had "reported a resident falling into a coma for which the cause could not be established following her transfer to the emergency unit."

"The following day, toxicology analyses revealed the presence of psychotropic drugs at levels which indicated they had been administered in a higher dose than normal for therapeutic purposes. None of the pharmaceutical products identified had been prescribed for this resident."

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