Woman held after cancer victim dies

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The Independent Online
A home-help was being questioned by police last night following the death of a 71-year-old widow in a Southampton hospital after medical apparatus at her bedside was tampered with.

Officers were called to the bedside of Kathleen Corfield, 71, who was terminally ill with lung cancer, just after midnight yesterday when nurses noticed that drips feeding painkiller into her body had been disturbed. Mrs Corfield died shortly afterwards.

Mrs Corfield's middle-aged home-help, who had just left after sitting with her for several hours, was detained by staff in the grounds of Southampton General Hospital.

Last night, the woman was being questioned by detectives who are treating Mrs Corfield's death as suspicious. A post mortem examination conducted yesterday was inconclusive and further tests will be carried out.

The policeman leading the inquiry, Detective Superintendent Pete Long, said: "The woman we are questioning worked as a home-help for Mrs Corfield and had cared for her for the past five months. It has been very difficult interviewing her. She is very distressed and was very fond of Mrs Corfield.

"We cannot rule out that Mrs Corfield died as a result of an overdose. We need the results of the further tests to find out exactly what happened. The only thing that was clear from the post mortem was the terrible state of this poor woman's cancer. It was very advanced."

Yesterday, neighbours spoke fondly of Mrs Corfield. One said that while her mind was in perfect shape cancer had virtually destroyed her body: "A puff of wind would have blown her away."

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