Stockport, Manchester: Police Probe 7 Deaths & 40 Saline Poisonings At Hospital

3 Sep

Police in Greater Manchester have said they are now investigating seven deaths, and potentially 40 suspicious poisonings, at a hospital in Stockport.

The CPS said it was 'no longer appropriate' to continue the case against Rebecca Leighton, who was accused of poisoning patients

Prosecutors have dropped all charges against nurse Rebecca Leighton in connection with three deaths on two wards at Stepping Hill Hospital.

Ms Leighton, who spent more than six weeks in custody, said she had been “living in hell”, locked up in prison for something she had not done.

Prosecutors said it was “no longer appropriate” to continue proceedings against the 27-year-old, who was accused of contaminating saline drips.

Former Met Police Detective Peter Bleksley told Sky News the investigation would be “resource-intensive” as they potentially had so many victims.

“This is a low-tech crime,” he said.

“These (saline) bags are not checked in and checked out, they do not have independent serial numbers.

“At the bottom of the bag there is a one-way valve – they are designed to have things injected into them.”

Four of those whose deaths are being probed have yet to be named but their families are aware that the cases have been referred to police by Stockport coroner John Pollard.

Detectives had previously announced they were looking at the suspicious deaths of Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, and Derek Weaver, 83.

Two other patients, George Keep and Vera Pearson – both 84, were also linked to the inquiry but their deaths were later ruled out as not suspicious.

Ms Leighton left HMP Styal in Cheshire on Friday and went home to her parents David and Lynda after spending 45 days in custody following her arrest.

Speaking on her behalf, her solicitor Carl Richmond said: “It was so frustrating for me knowing that the person who actually carried out these terrible acts is still out there.”

Last month at a bail application hearing, her barrister told a judge at Manchester Crown Court that the case against her was “weak” and she had “no case to answer”.

CPS prosecutor Nazir Afzal said that “on the evidence currently available there is not a case in law which could proceed”.

Saline Poisonings: '40 Potential Victims'Enlarge Photo

Saline Poisonings: ’40 Potential Victims’


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Video: Hospital Deaths Case Dropped Against Nurse

A nurse accused of poisoning hospital patients linked to a series of suspicious deaths has spoken of her “hell” after all charges were dropped.

Rebecca Leighton, 27, issued a statement after prosecutors decided to drop the case against her and she was released from jail after spending six weeks inside.

She said: “My life has been turned upside down. All I ever wanted to do was pursue a profession in nursing, and care for my patients.”

Miss Leighton was arrested In July and later charged with contaminating saline drips at Stepping Hill Hospital , Stockport.

The charges followed the deaths of five patients who were reported to have “unexplained” low blood sugar levels.

The nurse was held in Styal Prison while a trial date was being set for next year amid accusations that she tampered with saline ampoules, bags and medical products.

In a statement issued by her solicitor, Carl Richmond, Miss Leighton thanked those who had supported her during the investigation.

She said: “If it was not for the unerring love and support of my family, my mum Lynda, dad David and brother Darren, my fiance Tim, and all my friends, I do not know how I would have coped.

“I would also like to thank the members of the public who have also supported me and have believed in my innocence.

“I have been living in hell and was locked up in prison for something I had not done.

“Nonetheless, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the staff at HMP Styal for their love and support.

“It was so frustrating for me knowing that the person who has actually carried out these terrible acts is still out there.

“My life has been turned upside down.

“All I ever wanted to do was to pursue a profession in nursing and to care for my patients.

“I think it is unbelievable that anyone in the medical profession would ever put patients’ lives at risk.”

The CPS said Greater Manchester Police’s investigation into the deaths continues and “if further evidence is presented”, then the prosecution could be re-started.

CPS prosecutor Nazir Afzal said: “We have conducted a review of the case with senior police officers and sought the advice of leading counsel on whether it would be right to keep Rebecca Leighton in custody while investigations are continuing.

“The advice we have received is that on the evidence currently available there is not a case in law which could proceed and that the charges should be discontinued.

“As this is very much a complex investigation with lines of inquiry still being followed, there is the prospect that further evidence might emerge which the CPS would then consider alongside the evidence gathered so far.”

Mr Afzal said there was “sufficient evidence” for a conviction against Miss Leighton over one charge of theft of medication.

However he said the CPS decided that “it is not in the public interest to proceed” considering the time she had already spent in custody.

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Police said it was now investigating the deaths of seven patients – and potentially 40 victims in total – connected with sabotaged drips.


Nurse Rebecca Leighton said she had been “living in hell” after more than six … Full Story »Nurse had been ‘living in hell’

Linda and David Leighton, parents of nurse Rebecca Leighton, and their solicitor Carl Richmond speak to the media outside their Stockport home

Linda and David Leighton, parents of …

Tim Papworth (3rd R), the boyfriend of nurse Rebecca Leighton, arrives at Manchester Magistrates

Tim Papworth (3rd R), the boyfriend …


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