Torsten Blackwood / AFP/Getty Images
Roger Dean (right) is given oxygen by ambulance staff after a fire engulfed a nursing home for the elderly, killing 11 people on November 18, 2011.
An Australian nurse who admitted to 11 counts of murder in a retirement home fire was trying to destroy evidence that he had stolen painkillers prescribed to the residents, prosecutors revealed Tuesday, according to reports.
Roger Dean, 37, pleaded guilty on Monday over the deaths at the Quakers Hill Nursing Home in Sydney in November 2011, Australian media reported.
According to documents released by prosecutors, Dean stole hundreds of tablets of oxycodone -- a powerful narcotic painkiller -- the night before the fire.
The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported that the prescription value of the tablets was around $82.
Police arrived the next evening to investigate after nursing home managers reported the theft, but they soon left for another call. Worried they would return, Dean then used a cigarette lighter to set fire to several beds in unoccupied rooms that had no CCTV cameras, the court documents reportedly say.
"He had armed himself with the means to set fire to the home," The Australian newspaper quoted the prosecution's documents as saying.
While the fire blazed, Dean helped some of the elderly residents escape and also persuaded firefighters to help him remove drug register books from the building. The books "would assist any investigation into his theft of the drugs," so he removed them, tore them up at his home and threw them in a Dumpster, the prosecution's documents say.
Prosecutors also allege that when Dean initially confessed, he claimed he had been having nightmares and had tried to end his life. "He further stated that in him doing this, it was Satan telling him to do it," the documents say.
Dean confessed after speaking to friends in his Bible study group, the court documents say.
Police reportedly found all the drugs in Dean's apartment in containers labeled "Roger's doctor prescribed medication," the Morning Herald reported.