23 Jul 2011

Nurse charged after five deaths

12:00 pm on 23 July 2011

A nurse has been charged by police investigating the deaths of five patients at a hospital in Stockport, near Manchester in England.

Rebecca Leighton, 27, faces six charges of causing damage with intent to endanger life or being reckless as to whether life was being endangered.

The Crown Prosecution Service alleges she tampered with medical products, saline ampoules and saline bags at Stepping Hill hospital.

Ms Leighton is due to appear before Manchester magistrates on Saturday.

She also faces a charge of theft of medicine from the hospital.

The BBC reports she was arrested on Wednesday by police investigating the deaths of Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, George Keep, 84, Derek Weaver, 83, and Vera Pearson, 84.

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

Ms Arden died on 7 July and Mr Lancaster died on 11 July.

Mr Keep died on 14 July after being admitted to the hospital with a broken hip. Mrs Pearson died on the same day.

Police said saline solution at the hospital had been contaminated with insulin, which can cause low blood sugar.

Another man is critically ill in hospital. The BBC reports police are also looking at the treatment of eight other patients since 7 July.