A nurse in Australia pleaded guilty Monday to murdering 11 elderly men and women by setting fire to the Sydney nursing home where he worked.
Roger Dean, 37, a nurse at Quakers Hill Nursing Home, admitted to intentionally setting the fires in 2011, murdering 11 residents as a result, the Associated Press reports. He also pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to another eight nursing home residents who suffered injuries in the inferno. The building had more than 80 residents at the time.
The nurse was on duty at Quakers Hill when he set the fires. Afterward, he gave interviews in which he described trying to rescue trapped residents, the Associated Press reports.
Dean announced his pleas at a Monday hearing in New South Wales Supreme Court. He had originally pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but authorities rejected that plea, The Australian reports. He will be sentenced for his crimes on Thursday, and may face life in prison.
Authorities had originally questioned Dean over allegations of theft, mere hours before the fires started, the Associated Press reports. He has already pleaded guilty to stealing prescription drugs from the nursing home.
Dean’s admission of guilt sparked an outpouring of relief from relatives of his victims. “Joy in my heart to see that my mother would say, ‘yes, justice is going to be done,’” a relative of one deceased resident told reporters outside of the New South Wales Supreme Court.
Gary Barnier, managing director of Domain Principal Group, which owns the nursing home, also expressed his thoughts on Dean’s admission. “To the people who died that day, and subsequently, and were injured…I just feel so terribly sorry. But at least today justice has been done.”