Ex-nurse gets life sentence for poisoning deaths

A court in Japan has handed down a life sentence to a former nurse for fatally poisoning three patients at a hospital in Yokohama five years ago.

The Yokohama District Court sentenced Kuboki Ayumi on Tuesday.

The victims were elderly patients at the Oguchi Hospital who died in September of 2016, apparently as a result of their intravenous drips having been adulterated with disinfectant by Kuboki.

Prosecutors demanded the death sentence. Kuboki admitted the charges and pleaded guilty. Her lawyer cited her weakened mental state and claimed that life imprisonment was the right punishment.

In comments made at the time of sentencing, the presiding judge noted that the defendant suffered from depression as a result of her work at the hospital. He indicated that she committed her crimes without giving them much thought.

The judge said that Kuboki exhibited signs of an autism spectrum disorder at the time of the crimes and has been in a state of depression, but found that she was mentally competent enough to bear full responsibility for her deeds.

He pointed out that her lack of regard for others was impossible to overlook and that the suffering of the victims was extremely grave.

The lead judge went on to say that he refrained from imposing the death penalty because the defendant shows signs of remorse and it may be possible for her to be rehabilitated.