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Thursday, 17 September 2015

Ten people linked to killer nurse Victorino Chua died from unrelated causes

Written by The Press Association

Ten people who had the "misfortune" of being in hospital when killer nurse Victorino Chua was at large died from unrelated causes, inquests have heard.

Chua, 49, was jailed for life in May for the murder of two patients and the poisoning of 20 others while working as a nurse at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Inquests were held today by South Manchester Coroner John Pollard into the deaths of six patients who he did not kill but was found guilty by a jury of attempting to seriously harm by poisoning.

Mr Pollard also held hearings involving four others whose deaths did not form part of Chua's prosecution but were investigated by police following suspicions they had suffered unexpected hypoglycaemic attacks of the types inflicted by the killer's insulin overdoses.

Verdicts of death by natural causes were recorded against the "new" cases of Vera Pearson, 84, Hannah Hull, 89, and Raymond Jenyon, 86, while the death of George Keep, 84, was accidental following a fall in the road.

Five more patients, Beryl Hope, 70, Linda McDonagh, 60, Mary Cartwright, 69, William Dickson, 82, and John Beeley, 73, - who Chua was convicted of attempting to cause them all grievous bodily harm - also died of natural causes, recorded the coroner.

Maria Pawlyszyn, 86, who Chua tried to administer poison to by altering her prescription chart, died of misadventure following complications in heart surgery, her inquest heard.

Concluding the inquests in Stockport, Mr Pollard said: "We have heard a number of inquests today in relation to those people who had the misfortune of being patients at Stepping Hill Hospital at the time when Chua was carrying out his crimes.

"As a result of that, inquests into the deaths of those patients have been considerably delayed and I apologise to each and every one of the families of the deceased for that delay. And I thank them for their patience and forbearance in the mean time."

Mr Pollard thanked investigating officers from Greater Manchester Police and also hospital chiefs.

He said: "While it may seem ironic, although not intended to be, I would also like to thank the authorities at Stepping Hill Hospital who have been very frank and open with me in connection with these deaths."

No witnesses were called at the inquests except for civilian deputy senior investigating officer Thomas Kelly and coroner's officer Robert Makin.

Family members of Mrs Pearson, Mrs Hull and Mr Jenyon attended.

The court heard there was no evidence to suggest that retired domestic Mrs Pearson, former civil servant Mrs Hull, Australian-born stores manager Mr Jenyon and retired joiner Mr Keep had been illicitly administered insulin.

While housewife Mrs Hope, ex-dental nurse Mrs Cartwright, office administrator Mrs McDonagh, retired journalist Mr Dickson and former railway worker Mr Beeley were all said to have recovered from the hypoglycaemic episodes.

The court heard that a number of malicious alterations were made to the presciption chart of retired spinner Mrs Pawlyszyn but were discovered before any medication was administered.

Filipino Chua's behaviour was "indescribably wicked", Mr Justice Openshaw said, as he handed down 25 life sentences and ordered he serve a minimum 35 years before parole, following a four-month trial at Manchester

During the investigation, police found a self-penned letter at Chua's home, described as "the bitter nurse confession" by Chua, who called himself "an angel turned into an evil person" and wrote "there's a devil in me".

In June and July 2011 Chua had secretly injected insulin into saline bags and ampoules which were then used unwittingly by other nurses on wards at the busy hospital.

Patients would suffer hypoglycaemic attacks, most would recover after the overdoses were spotted by other nurses, but one attack left a patient, Grant Misell, 41, with brain damage and two others, Tracey Arden, 44, and Alfred Weaver, 83, died as a result.

Chua was cleared of murdering a third patient, Arnold Lancaster, 71, who was suffering from cancer.

Inquests into the deaths of Ms Arden, Mr Weaver and Mr Lancaster will be held on a later date.

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