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Elizabeth Wettlaufer confessed to attacking a 15th patient. The public was never told

CBC News has learned new details about a London Police Service investigation into an additional attack by serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer through documents filed in court.

Police 'had grounds to proceed' with more charges but didn't, court documents reveal

Elizabeth Wettlaufer leaves the courthouse in Woodstock, Ont., on June 26, 2017, the day she was sentenced to life in prison for murdering eight seniors in her care. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

At least three Ontario police services were aware that serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer confessed to attacking a fifteenth elderly patient, yet the crime was withheld from the public and was never disclosed during a multi-million-dollar public inquiry looking into Wettlaufer's crimes and why they went undetected for so long.

CBC News has obtained a partially redacted police report written by the London Police Service, outlining how Wettlaufer confessed on numerous occasions to injecting Florence Beedall, 77, with insulin. The attack happened in August 2014 at the Meadow Park care facility in London, Ont.

Wettlaufer, who is serving eight concurrent life sentences for the murders of eight patients in her care, was working as a nurse there.

Beedall was a palliative-care patient and Wettlaufer injected her with two units of the drug — in "an effort to let her go quicker," according to the police report.

Beedall was not a diabetic, and there was no medical or legal reason for Wettlaufer to administer insulin to her, according to the police report. 

Florence Beedall, 77, died at Meadow Park nursing home on Aug. 23, 2014. This is the same day that Wettlaufer confessed to murdering Arpad Horvath, a fellow Meadow Park resident. (Simon Dingley/CBC)

Beedall was in the final stages of life when Wettlaufer injected her with the insulin, police learned. Beedall died about an hour later.

A local coroner ruled the death was the result of complications from dementia and hypertension. 

The police report, written by veteran London Police Det. Steven Simone, reveals police determined: "Ms. Wettlaufer did commit the offence of Assault with a Weapon." Police then determined "that no criminal charges be laid in this matter despite having grounds to proceed."

The report also cites concerns Beedall's family had about possible charges leading to unwanted publicity.

Police quietly obtained the first confession a year ago

The report reveals police first obtained Wettlaufer's confession during a jailhouse interview at Kitchener's Grand Valley Institution for Women in January 2018. She was interviewed by Woodstock, Ont., police — who were deeply involved in the Wettlaufer probe.

Months later, Wettlaufer was transferred to a Montreal facility where she again provided information about the attack on Beedall, according to the police report. 

A London Police report said they were not able to lay homicide charges against serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer in connection with Florence Beedall's death. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

CBC News has learned that at one point, police took a photo of Beedall to Wettlaufer, to ensure Wettlaufer was confessing to attacking her.

In March 2018, police also obtained a court order to seize Beedall's medical records from Meadow Park.

OPP originally denied knowledge of confession

CBC News first became aware of the allegations two months ago, and reached out to Ontario Provincial Police, the lead agency in the Wettlaufer probe.

At the time, the OPP denied Wettlaufer had admitted to killing Beedall. They now concede they were aware that Wettlaufer had admitted to harming her.

Asked why no charges were laid, OPP Staff Sgt. Carole Dionne told CBC News there was no point given Wettlaufer is already serving a life sentence for her many other crimes against patients.

"We consulted with the attorney general and it was determined it was not in the public interest."

Dionne said the OPP disclosed the confession to the public inquiry.

"Everything that pertained to this investigation was disclosed. That would include Ms. Beedall," said Dionne.

Beedall not mentioned at inquiry

Since June, a public inquiry looking into Wettlaufer's crimes has been examining how they went undetected for almost a decade until Wettlaufer's confession to police in 2016.

Dozens of witnesses testified, yet there was never any mention of Beedall.

The inquiry is now in its final stage, preparing recommendations aimed at preventing a similar situation from happening again.

Susan Horvath holds a photo of her father, Arpad Horvath, who was killed by Wettlaufer at Meadow Park Long-Term Care Home in London, Ont. Florence Beedall, 77, died the same day Horvath was fatally injected. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

Mark Zigler, lead co-counsel for the inquiry, said on Wednesday he's never seen the police report.

"I don't know if there's anything the inquiry can do until somebody presents us with something and asks us to do something about it at this stage," he said. 

Alex Van Kralingen, a lawyer representing the families of some of Wettlaufer's other victims at the inquiry, said the existence of the confession would have been important information to have.

"I have difficulty believing the inquiry was made aware of it. The idea that issue would not have been canvassed strikes me as very unusual. It doesn't add up to me," said Van Kralingen.

Beedall's family has declined to speak about the situation.

Wettlaufer confessed to injecting Arpad Horvath, 75, with lethal amounts of insulin at Meadow Park on the same day Beedall died.

Wettlaufer told police she felt a "red surge" of anger before attacking the previously identified 14 victims.

The former nurse has also confessed to lethally injecting seven residents at the Caressant Care home in nearby Woodstock, Ont.: James Silcox, 84, Maurice (Moe) Granat, 84, Gladys Millard, 87, Helen Matheson, 95, Mary Zurawinski, 96, Helen Young, 90, and Maureen Pickering, 79.

She's also admitted to trying to kill or harm six other patients in her care with insulin injections.

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story stated that Elizabeth Wettlaufer injected Florence Beedall with insulin in June of 2018. In fact, that incident took place in 2014, but came to light in 2018.
    Jan 31, 2019 10:04 AM ET

About the Author

John Lancaster

Senior Reporter, CBC Toronto

John Lancaster is a senior reporter with CBC News focusing on investigative and enterprise journalism. He is a life long resident of Toronto but his stories have taken him across Canada, the US and the Caribbean. His work appears on CBC Toronto, The National and CBC's Marketplace-and of course CBC online and radio. Drop him a line anytime at john.lancaster@cbc.ca.