Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Nurse convicted of murder.
A Filipino nurse has been jailed for 35 years after being convicted of murdering two patients and poisoning 20 others at a Greater Manchester hospital.
Victorino Chua killed Tracey Arden, 44, and Derek Weaver, 83, at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport by using a hypodermic needle to inject insulin into saline bags and ampoules. These were then unwittingly used by other nurses on Chua's victims, who were mostly elderly.
Chua, 49, a father of two, was found guilty of a total of 33 charges: two counts of murder, 22 counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm, one of causing grievous bodily harm, seven of attempting to administer a poison and one of administering a poison.
Two patients were found to have been murdered and 19 poisoned with insulin. A 22nd victim was poisoned after Chua changed her prescription chart and she was given the wrong drugs. One patient, Grant Misell, 41, was left with a serious brain injury.
The other victims of saline poisoning were Arnold Lancaster, 81, Josephine Walsh, 69, Jack Beeley, 72, Linda McDonagh, 59, Joseph "Eric" McDonald, 66, Antony Smith, 47, Joyce Atherton, 81, Beryl Hope, 70, Doreen Brace, 87, Kathleen Murray, Lillian Baker, 85, Beatrice Humphreys, 84, Mary Cartwright, 88, Lillian Armstrong, 83, Philip Jones, 67, William Dickson, 82, Daphne Harlow, 86, and 24-year-old Zubia Aslam.
The poisonings took place between June 2011 and January 2012 on two wards, often used for treating elderly patients with complex illnesses.
After police were called in, Chua was said to have "changed tack" by sabotaging prescription charts, doubling and trebling dosages. He was arrested in January 2012 and rearrested in March 2014.
Among the prosecution evidence was a self-penned letter found at Chua's home in Stockport. Described by Chua as "the bitter nurse confession", he wrote that he was "an angel turned into an evil person" and "there's a devil in me", who had things he would "take to the grave.”
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it was their "biggest case in a decade.” Ben Southam, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), described the "complex case" as an "enormous task" involving thousands of pages of evidence.
When GMP officers travelled to Manila, the capital of the Philippines, they discovered inconsistencies between his two nursing certificates. Det Supt Barraclough said: "The certificates don't correspond to each other. Even assuming one of them is right, the other is not."
While police were unable to confirm Chua's certification was forged, Det Supt Barraclough said: "All I can say is we have absolutely no confidence that they are bona-fide qualifications." Prosecutors suspect Chua did not even sit his final nursing exam.
Nursing director at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stepping Hill Hospital, Judith Morris said: "When Chua was employed by us we did our usual checks to see if someone is on the Nursing and Midwifery Council register, which he was. We did our normal two references, our occupational health clearance, police check and we didn't have any concerns raised."