Hospital deaths probe continues

Police have named the fifth patient whose death at the hospital at the centre of sabotage allegations is being investigated by police.

Vera Pearson, 84, died on July 14 at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester.



Her case was referred to detectives by a coroner earlier this week because of her low blood sugar level.



Police say saline solution at the hospital was contaminated with insulin, which can cause low blood sugar.



The pensioner's family said they wanted to be left alone to grieve in peace.



She was not among the tally of 14 patients who police initially believed had been affected by a batch of 36 saline vials sabotaged with insulin.



Police are also looking at the suspicious deaths of Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, George Keep, 84, and Derek Weaver, 83.



Detectives have until 9.05pm tonight to question Stepping Hill nurse Rebecca Leighton, 27, on suspicion of murder before they must decide whether to charge her, release her from custody or apply for extra time to detain her - possibly up until Sunday morning.



On Wednesday, officers arrested Miss Leighton at her flat in Heaviley, Stockport, which is a mile away from the hospital.



The alarm was raised last week when an experienced nurse reported a higher than normal number of patients on her ward with "unexplained" low blood sugar levels, pointing to saline containers being sabotaged.



Police found the contaminated batch in a store room close to wards A1 and A3 of the hospital.

It was reported today that South Manchester Coroner John Pollard will now review all deaths at the hospital since July 7, with all future deaths also referred to him.



Greater Manchester Police has admitted it was "likely" it will be asked to investigate further deaths by the coroner.



Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said it was part of the coroner's "belt and braces approach" to ensure that all cases with potential links to the inquiry were appropriately investigated and scrutinised.



He added there had been no further incidents of deliberate contamination at the hospital since the police were called in and security was stepped up.



Detectives continue to focus on preventing further harm at the hospital and once that is done they will look at any cases before July 7.



Mr Weaver, from Stockport, died yesterday after suffering a hypoglycaemic episode on July 11 - a day after he was admitted from his interim care home with breathing problems.



Multiple sclerosis sufferer Ms Arden, of Heaviley, died on July 7. Retired photographer Mr Lancaster, of Romiley, died on July 11, while Mr Keep, of Cheadle, died on July 14 after being admitted to the hospital with a broken hip.



The results of further pathology tests to find out if insulin contributed to the fatalities are still awaited and the families involved have been forced to postpone funerals.



A man in his 40s, who was part of the original pool of 14 patients thought to have been affected, remains "very poorly" in a critical care unit at Stepping Hill.



Nine other patients are thought to have recovered from their symptoms.

PA

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
Jonathan de Guzman of the Netherlands and Willian of Brazil compete for the ball
world cup 2014LIVE BLOG: Hosts Brazil take on the Netherlands in third-place play-off
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice