Laura Merriman (died 25 December 2020) was a mother with Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
In 2006, believing them to be "health [drinks]", Laura started giving Rosie energy drinks to keep her stimulated. However, Rosie began to experience persistent abdominal pains and intermittent nausea. Laura took Rosie to see all of the GPs at their local practice, but she was dissatisfied with their lack of concern. On 9 December, after a performer fell from a platform during a Christmas pantomine rehearsal, Laura complained to paramedic Josh Griffiths about Rosie's tachycardia and other symptoms, but Josh dismissed Rosie's symptoms as those of shock and a typical illness. Despite Josh's lack of concern, his colleague Dixie allowed Rosie to take an ambulance to Holby City Hospital's emergency department. After a patient who had earlier been transported to the ED in Rosie's ambulance was found to have been contaminated with radioactive material, Laura decided to lodge a formal complaint against Josh for failing to take her unease seriously. However, consultant Harry Harper found out about Rosie's energy drink consumption and warned Laura that they were causing Rosie's symptoms. (CAS: "The Edge of Fear")
Josh's stabbing and Laura's arrest
On Christmas Eve, having made preparations and getting Rosie to rehearse her list of symptoms beforehand, Laura rushed into Holby City Hospital's emergency department holding Rosie and demanding help. Laura told the staff that Rosie had experienced a seizure, and claimed that Rosie's symptoms had previously been hypothesised to be a response to her father's death. However, upon finding Josh visiting Rosie in her cubicle, Laura sternly ordered Josh to leave and injected Rosie with insulin. On her way to having a CT scan, Rosie began fitting and was rushed to paeds resus. Laura took Rosie's clinical notes and was confronted by senior charge nurse Charlie Fairhead over her lack of transparency about Rosie's medical history. In a fit of stress and anger, Laura entered the staff room, destroyed its contents and picked up a carving knife before leaving. After Rosie suffered another seizure and once left unattended, Laura put Rosie in a wheelchair and escaped the department. Outside, Laura noticed that Josh had spotted her and hid in the back of a broken-down ambulance. As a result of her psychosis, Laura saw Josh's concern as malice and fought back when he approached her, stabbing him in the neck and abdomen with the carving knife before closing the doors and leaving Josh for dead. (CAS: "Killing Me Softly")
Behind the scenes
When Barbara Machin — the writer of "Killing Me Softly" and "Silent Night" — created the character of Laura, she wrote her story specifically for Holly Aird, whom she worked with on her own series Waking the Dead. When approached, Aird accepted the part.