Suspended jail term for stealing prescription painkillers


A former senior sister at a nursing home has received a suspended jail term for stealing prescription pain killers.

Margaret Cooling, of Copperthorpe, Drumahoe, pleaded guilty to stealing 3,600 tramadol tablets between October 1, 2010 and September 31, 2012.

The 46-year-old also admitted a charge of fraud by false representation.

Derry Magistrates Court heard Cooling became addicted to the prescription painkillers after the birth of her daughter.

She topped up her own prescriptions with tablets stolen from Ardlough Nursing Home where she was employed as a senior sister.

A defence solicitor told the court there was ‘no detriment’ to the patients as a result of Cooling’s theft.

He added that his client, who had been a nurse for 24 years, has given up her job and recognises her career as a nurse is over.

The solicitor also revealed the 46-year- old will be subject to disciplinary proceedings by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Suspending a two month jail term for a year, District Judge Barney McElholm said it was a serious offence.

He said that severe back pain can be ‘very debilitating and she succumbed to temptation’.

However, the judge said he took into account the fact that there was no detriment to the patients.

Judge McElholm also ordered Cooling to pay compensation of £215.26 - the amount the tablets were worth.