A nurse addicted to the anaesthetic that killed Michael Jackson stole 5000 vials from a restricted medicine room - and was able to keep taking the drug because the hospital did not confiscate her ID swipe card.
Peta Lee Millar worked at the Waikato District Health Board as a nurse in the post-anaesthesia care unit where she had access to propofol, a powerful sedative known as "Jackson juice" and the "milk of amnesia", and used on patients having surgery.
• Propofol: The milk of amnesia
Court documents reveal the 53-year-old was struggling with anxiety in early 2012 and began using propofol to help her sleep.
On the first occasion, she stole 10 boxes of the hospital-only drug. Each box held five 20ml vials - 10ml will keep a patient asleep for an hour.
Over the next two years, Millar took 10 boxes of propofol, some containing 50ml vials, at least once a week until she resigned in November.
By that time, she was estimated to have taken more than 5000 vials, worth more than $7000.
The Waikato DHB asked Millar to return all hospital property, such as her uniform and ID swipe cards, but did not ensure that she did.
The day after she resigned, Millar returned to the hospital at 3.43am wearing her surgical uniform and used her swipe card to enter the restricted-access medicine room.
She took 10 boxes of propofol and repeated this 16 times until April - taking about 800 vials. A family member discovered the drugs at her home and notified the hospital and police.
She has pleaded guilty to theft and burglary and will be sentenced in the Hamilton District Court in October.
The executive director of Waikato Hospital Services, Brett Paradine, said Millar's ID card was not handed in "as it should have been when she resigned" and the "small amounts" of propofol stolen went undetected because the amount of the drug legitimately used varied from day to day. "Our processes have been tightened and this would not happen now."
The case has highlighted the addictive qualities of the drug, which has been linked to the deaths of at least eight anaesthetists by suicide or overdose.