Thefts a breach of trust

NURSE Helene McKanna was employed to administer prescription drugs.

Instead she took them to feed her out-of-control drug addiction.

The 40-year-old was suspended from her position at Rockhampton Mater Hospital after management discovered an unknown quantity of midazolam sandoz (an anaesthetic drug) missing.

It appears hospital management were not the only ones taken for a ride. Rockhampton cabbie Russell Clement opened his heart and gave her a car in July last year.

The gesture came after Ms McKanna, during a taxi ride, told him that she was experiencing hardship after the motor in her car died, leaving her with no transport to and from her Mount Morgan home.

She also accepted $500 cash from a total stranger after her story involving Mr Clement appeared on The Morning Bulletin's front page on July 27 last year.

Yesterday she was exposed as a thief and drug user in Rockhampton Magistrates Court when she pleaded guilty to nine charges including stealing, fraud and possession of dangerous drugs.

The offences began in January last year.

On October 4, five scripts were found in Ms McKanna's handbag after they went missing.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Darrell Dalton said she used the scripts to try to purchase a 30-pack of Sudafed.

It was discovered the scripts were stolen when the Mount Morgan pharmacy question their authenticity.

During a search of her Mount Morgan home an "extraordinary large amount" of used syringes were located.

Senior Constable Dalton said on November 7, Ms McKanna stole $33 worth of fuel from a Biloela service station.

On November 18, police found 2.25 grams of cannabis in a heart-shaped box hidden in her handbag.

Ms McKanna was also charged with three counts of disqualified driving yesterday.

Defence solicitor Brian McGowran said her drug addiction grew when she began a relationship with a drug user.

He said her nursing licence was before the board.

Magistrate Bronwyn Springer said the fact that these thefts occurred in a hospital was a very serious breach of trust.

Ms McKanna was sentenced to five months prison with a parole date effective yesterday, 18-months probation, was disqualified from driving for three-and-a-half years and ordered to pay restitution.

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