French care worker charged over retirement home deaths

The 30-year-old woman has also been charged with attempting to poison three other elderly residents of the Cesalet retirement home on the outskirts of Chambery in the French Alps.

Chambery's deputy prosecutor, Dietlind Baudoin, said all nine residents had been given a "cocktail of psychotropic drugs" without any medical justification and with the result that six of them died.

Mr Baudoin said the victims, all in their 80s, had been suffering from "frailties linked to their age" but were otherwise in good health, and not nearing the end of their lives.

The suspect, who had only worked in the home since the summer of 2012, has told police that she wanted to "relieve the suffering" of the victims and did not intend to kill them, a police source said. All the deaths have occurred since the beginning of October.

The care worker was arrested on Tuesday, initially only in connection with the death of an 84-year-old woman who fell into a coma on 27