Homicides in prison are still rare but the number has increased, vividly illustrating the unacceptable level of violence in prisons in England and Wales, said Nigel Newcomen, Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO). Today he published a bulletin on lessons that can be learned from his investigations.
The PPO investigates all deaths in custody and his remit is to examine the circumstances surrounding the death and establish whether anything can be done to help prevent similar tragedies in the future. In December 2013 he published a bulletin which looked at 16 prison homicides investigated from 2003-4 to 2012-13, an average of 1.6 per year. The 2013 bulletin identified a number of concerns, in particular the need to improve the management of risk that vulnerable prisoners pose to one another. It led to operational changes in high security prisons.
In the three years that followed, from 2013-14 to 2015-16, another 13 prisoners were killed by another prisoner or prisoners (an average of 4.3 homicides per year). This bulletin considers the learning from six of those 13 homicides where investigations have been completed, and another two from the beginning of 2013.
The bulletin highlights the need for:
prisons to have a coordinated approach to identifying indicators and risks of bullying and violent behaviour, including the impact of new psychoactive substances and associated debt, and taking allegations of intimidation seriously;
prisons to have an effective security and cell-searching strategy, enabling weapons to be found and removed;
concerns about potentially vulnerable prisoners to be properly recorded and action taken to ensure prisoners are located in a place of safety; and
the police to be notified without delay when a prisoner appears to have been seriously assaulted, evidence preserved and all prisoners involved in an incident to be held separately until police arrive.
Nigel Newcomen said:
“The killing of one prisoner by another in a supposedly secure prison environment is particularly shocking, and it is essential to seek out any lessons that might prevent these chilling occurrences in future.
“The cases we studied had little in common beyond their tragic outcome. Nevertheless, what is clear is that the increased number of homicides is emblematic of the wholly unacceptable level of violence in our prisons.
“The bulletin does identify a number of areas of learning: the need to better manage violence and debt in prison, not least that associated with the current epidemic of new psychoactive substances; the need for rigorous cell searching to minimise the availability of weapons; the need for careful management of prisoners known to be at risk from others and the need to ensure prisons know how to respond when they have an apparent homicide.”
Mark Leech, editor of The Prisons Handbook for England and Wales and Converse, said:
“The rising tide of violence in our prisons is what happens when staffing levels are cut beyond safe levels, when budgets are slashed that allow already attenuated regimes to deteriorate further and when the Prison Service has yet to get to grips with the impact of high levels of New Psychotic Substances which are increasingly widely available across the entire prison estate.
“When you strip away the political rhetoric, the promises of more staff, the assertions that the Prison Service is doing all it can, the simple fact is that you cannot run a modern, safe, prison service on tuppence ha’penny – that’s the shockingly simple truth of the matter at the end of the day.”
Serial killer Levi Bellfield’s shock confession to the murder of Milly Dowler has prompted police to review probes into “a number” of other crimes.
Bellfield, who was given a whole-life prison sentence in June 2011 for killing the 13 year old, made the admission for the first time during an investigation into whether he had an accomplice, Surrey Police said.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed it was looking at new information relating to criminal investigations, but refused to give details.
A spokesman said: “The MPS is liaising with a number of other UK police forces in relation to information which has been passed on to us regarding a number of criminal investigations. That information remains subject to assessment and for that reason we will not be discussing the matter in further detail at this time.
“We are not prepared to discuss at this time the number of investigations or details of any case.”
Bellfield has been linked to several other crimes.
At the time of his conviction in June 2011, detectives said they believed Bellfield may have been responsible for around 20 attacks on women which were never solved.
These included the killing of Judith Gold, who was hit over the head in Hampstead, north London, in 1990, and Bellfield’s schoolfriend Patsy Morris, 14, who was strangled on Hounslow Heath, west London, in 1980.
Anna Maria Rennie identified Bellfield as the man who tried to force her into a car in Whitton, west of London, when she was just 17 in October 2001. But the jury at Bellfield’s 2008 trial for the murders of two other women could not agree and the charge was left on file.
Attempts for a retrial for attempted kidnap failed when Miss Rennie refused to attend court.
Bellfield was already in jail for the murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, when he went on trial accused of killing Milly.
In 2008, he had been given a whole life term for murdering Ms McDonnell, 19, in 2003, and murdering Ms Delagrange, 22, and attempting to murder Ms Sheedy, 18, in 2004.
Milly was snatched from the street while on her way from school to her home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in March 2002.
Her body was found in a wood in Yateley Heath, Hampshire – 25 miles from Walton-on-Thames.
Bellfield, 47, who now calls himself Yusuf Rahim, lived 50 yards from where Milly vanished but did not become a suspect until he was arrested by police in London for the other crimes in 2004.
He was found guilty of abducting and killing Milly following a trial at the Old Bailey before he lost a bid in February 2012 to challenge his conviction at the Court of Appeal in London.
Surrey Police said a man in his 40s arrested on Wednesday was released without charge, after finding there was no evidence to support the accomplice allegation.
A mentally ill prisoner has admitted battering his cell mate over the head with a television set as he awaited trial for a random attack on a walker at popular beauty spot.
In June 2014, Taras Nykolyn, 46, pounced on Roger Maxwell as he took an early morning stroll near the Windmill landmark on Wimbledon Common in south-west London.
He forced the victim to the ground, smashing his face and breaking his wrist.
Then, while he was on remand at Wandsworth prison, Nykolyn killed Wadid Barsoum by hitting him with a TV, punching and stabbing him in their cell.
Ukrainian Nykolyn, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to both attacks at the Old Bailey with the help of an interpreter.
He admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm to Mr Maxwell on June 19 2014 and the manslaughter of Mr Barsoum on May 4 last year.
Alternative charges of grievous bodily harm with intent and murder were ordered to lie on file by the Recorder of London, Nicholas Hilliard QC, after hearing the defendant was suffering from mental illness at the time.
Prosecutor Simon Denison QC said: “Two psychiatric reports concluded that the defendant suffers from an abnormality of mental function, namely paranoid psychosis.
“They are satisfied that at the time of the killing of Mr Barsoum his responsibility was diminished.”
Although there was a possible defence of insanity to the attack on Mr Maxwell, the Crown was satisfied it was dealt with appropriately with the plea to a lesser charge.
Diana Ellis QC, defending, told the court that Nykolyn had been moved to HMP Belmarsh since the killing.
Then in November last year, he was transferred to Broadmoor secure hospital for an assessment before being sent back to the top security jail.
As the requirements have not been met for a hospital order, the defendant faces a jail sentence, the court heard.
Sentencing was adjourned to Friday, January 22.
HMP Wandsworth was built in 1851 and is now the largest prison in the UK, holding 1,877 inmates
Alongside HMP Liverpool, which is of similar size, the category B jail is one of the largest prisons in Western Europe.
The spot where Mr Maxwell was attacked is not far from where young mother Rachel Nickell was stabbed to death by schizophrenic Robert Napper on July 15 1992
In 2008, Napper pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility bringing to an end the inquiry into one of the most notorious killings in modern British criminal history.
A triple killer’s claim that his whole-life prison sentence breaches his human rights is to be re-examined by European judges.
Arthur Hutchinson’s case will be considered again after it was referred to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Earlier this year a judgment from the Strasbourg court ruled that there had been no violation.
However, Hutchinson applied for the case to be passed to the ECHR’s Grand Chamber. It has now emerged that his request has been accepted after it was assessed by a panel of five judges.
After an original Chamber judgment has been delivered, parties are able to ask for a referral to the Grand Chamber for fresh consideration. Requests are accepted on “an exceptional basis”, according to the ECHR’s website.
No details of the reason for referring Hutchinson’s case have been released.
The move will bring fresh scrutiny of the protracted issue of “life means life” terms.
Hutchinson was jailed in 1984 for stabbing Basil and Avril Laitner to death after breaking into the couple’s Sheffield home, and then killing one of their sons.
The judge in his original trial ruled that he should serve 18 years but then-home secretary Leon Brittan later determined he should face the whole-life tariff.
In 2008, Hutchinson had a domestic appeal against whole-life tariffs kicked out by the Court of Appeal.
He was the first Briton to challenge the sentence after a controversial ruling by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in July 2013 that whole-life tariffs breach human rights.
The Strasbourg-based court held that there had been a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights – which relates to inhuman and degrading treatment – on the basis that whole-life orders were not “reducible”.
In that decision judges did not say whole-life sentences were incompatible with the convention, but that there had to be the possibility of a review at some stage and that current laws allowing for release in exceptional circumstances were unclear.
Relying on Article 3, Hutchinson claims that his whole life sentence amounts to “inhuman and degrading treatment” as he has no hope of release.
Court of Appeal judges ruled last year that the Grand Chamber was wrong when it said in a previous ruling that the law of England and Wales did not clearly provide for “reducibility”, saying the domestic law “is clear as to ‘possible exceptional release of whole-life prisoners'”.
They underlined the power given to the Secretary of State to release a prisoner on licence if he is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist which justify the prisoner’s release on compassionate grounds.
In February judges at the ECHR found by a majority that they consider the legal situation in the UK to be in line with human rights laws, ruling that in Hutchinson’s case there was no violation of Article 3 as the Secretary of State has the power to review whole-life sentences.
Mark Leech editor of the national prisoners newspaper Converse said he would expect the re examination of the whole life tariff to uphold the original decision.
Mr Leech said “It would be an extraordinary state of affairs if someone could murder three people and expect that one day they could once again walk the streets – I just dont think the public would either understand or accept that.”
A young woman fell to her knees sobbing as she was cleared by a jury of murdering her friend’s violent boyfriend after a retrial ordered by the Court of Appeal.
Stacey Hyde was originally convicted at Bristol Crown Court in 2010 of killing 34-year-old Vincent Francis when she was aged 17 at the flat he shared with her friend, Holly Banwell.
Miss Hyde, now 23, from Wells, Somerset, had denied murder saying she was in fear for her life but the original jury disagreed and she was sentenced to a minimum of nine years in prison by Mr Justice Field.
However, in November last year, the court of appeal overturned her murder conviction and Lord Justice Laws ordered a retrial which has been held at Winchester Crown Court lasting four weeks.
Miss Hyde sobbed and wiped away tears as the judge, Mr Justice Teare, discharged her and told her she was free to leave the court.
The original trial heard that Miss Hyde, a waitress, armed herself with a 10-inch knife and stabbed Mr Francis up to 17 times.
The Bristol court was told that after stabbing Mr Francis, Miss Hyde told Ms Banwell: “I did it for you because I don’t like the way he treats you.”
Mr Justice Fields said that in sentencing Miss Hyde he had taken into consideration that the violence had been initiated by Mr Francis.
The trial heard that Miss Hyde, who had been drinking heavily that night, had gone back to Ms Banwell’s flat in Wells on September 4, 2009, after a night out.
Ms Banwell had called 999 after Mr Francis had attacked her and then Miss Hyde before the defendant then hit him back before she went and picked up a carving knife and stabbed him in the back and chest.
The jury was played the 999 call made by Ms Banwell in which she asks for help to stop Mr Francis from attacking Miss Hyde as the defendant then stabs him.
She says in the call: “My boyfriend is smashing, beating up my friend, she’s a girl and I need the police, I need the police ASAP.”
She continued: “There was a huge row and he hits me, and he started on, basically he hit me and he hit me so she hit him and now he has started on her and now they are hitting each other. I need the police.”
Ms Banwell then goes on to say: “Don’t f****** punch me, I’m on the phone to the police, don’t punch me, do you know what I mean, I’ve just got a smack in. No Stacey, put that down.”
With screaming heard in the background, she continues: “She has got a knife, she’s got a knife, she’s got a knife. She’s stabbed him. Oh my God she has stabbed him.”
The retrial has heard about Miss Hyde’s mental health with expert witnesses for the defence and prosecution disagreeing to the extent she may have suffered from a personality disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) which can lead to a failure of impulse control.
The Winchester court was also told that the defendant had difficulty coping with stressful situations and in 2009 had been sent for urgent assessment for problematic use of alcohol, depression, self-harm and suicidal tendencies.
In a statement released after the hearing, Miss Hyde said: “I would like to say thank you to Justice for Women, my legal team, friends and family for believing in me and giving me hope and strength to never give up.
“I will be forever grateful and blessed to have been given my life back.”
Her mother, Diane Hyde, said: “It’s the happiest day of my life. We’re ecstatic, very happy, can’t believe this has happened.
“We are very sad that someone died but we are very grateful for this verdict. We are very proud of Stacey who has shown great courage and dignity throughout this nightmare.
“It’s been five years of knowing the verdict was wrong in the first place, my daughter wouldn’t knowingly hurt anyone and none of us know what we would do if we are in fear.”
A spokeswoman for Justice for Women criticised the prosecution as the “unnecessary and costly murder retrial of a damaged and vulnerable young woman”.
She said: “Justice for Women have supported Stacey since 2011 throughout a series of appeals.
“We are delighted that justice has finally been done and that Stacey will now be able to receive the support she needs instead of being unjustly punished for her own vulnerability and fear.”
The spokeswoman said that the retrial had been unnecessary because Miss Hyde had been willing to plead guilty to a charge of manslaughter on the grounds that she was acting out of self-defence.
She added that even prosecution psychiatric witnesses had agreed that Miss Hyde had been suffering from a “number of mental disorders”.
The spokeswoman continued: “A 999 call made at the time of the killing revealed that Stacey was screaming in terror throughout the incident and that her former friend Holly Banwell, despite her evidence to the contrary, was under attack by Francis at the time of the stabbing.
“Evidence emerged of a history of violence towards women by Francis, including a former girlfriend who gave similar evidence.”
Former royal aide Jane Andrews, who was jailed for stabbing her boyfriend to death in 2001, is to be released from prison, the Parole Board has said.
She flew into a rage when he told her he had no intention of marrying her and, while he was asleep, battered him with a cricket bat and then stabbed him to death.
The Secretary of State will now rule on her release date.
A spokesman for the Parole Board said two men and one woman made the decision and added: “We can confirm that a three member panel of the Parole Board has directed the release of Jane Andrews.
“The decision to release is a matter for the Board, which is independent – arrangements and the date of the release are a matter for the Secretary of State for Justice.
“We are unable to comment further on the details of this case.”
The killer will be bankrolled into new found freedom – with a nest-egg from property sales she made in jail.
She is now set to use the cash windfall to fund her eventual release.
Last night a shocked relative of her victim warned that the former flunkey was still volatile, and posed a serious threat to men if her future relationships imploded.
Tom’s older brother Rick Cressman, aged 64 years, insisted that Andrews had never shown remorse.
And he recently warned the Parole Board examining her freedom bid not to be swayed by any belated apology she might make to achieve it.
Rick had previously said Andrews should be accompanied by a public health warning, like those on cigarette packets.
Friends are understood to have alerted his family, who wanted Andrews to stay in jail, to prepare themselves for her release which the three man Parole Board yesterday approved.
Rick insisted yesterday: “Her getting parole is against our wishes and is a devastating blow to all of us.”
Andrews has already served an extra two-years on top of the 11 year life sentence tariff imposed at the Old Bailey in 2001.
She subsequently lost a previous freedom bid on the grounds that she remained a danger to the opposite sex.
Now aged 46 years, Andrews stabbed her ex stock broker partner with a kitchen knife and battered him with a cricket bat before fleeing – leading to her former boss, Sarah Ferguson, appealing for her to surrender.
While serving life at HMP Send, near Guildford, Surrey, she sold her flat overlooking Battersea Park, London, two-years-ago, making a reported £300,000 profit.
This enabled her to buy another dwelling, a terraced house in Angmering, near Worthing, West Sussex, costing around £300k – which again she sold recently.
It means that the working class girl from Grimsby, the ambitious daughter of a joiner and a social worker mother, is likely to be switched to an open prison in preparation for her release.
She now has a healthy bank balance, either to invest, or help her get back on to the property ladder, when she is finally released.
Rick claimed Tom would have helped her to buy the London property, or at least made contributions to her mortgage payments, before she murdered him.
“Andrews is still devious and her personality hasn’t changed,” he insisted last night.
The volatile ex-royal aide has made three suicide attempts. Her first was when she was 15, after her mother discovered her truancy. She made a second bid after trashing the home of the son of a Greek shipping millionaire who had dumped her.
Her final bid to end her life came after she fled Tom’s murder and went on the run, hiding in her getaway car in a roadside lay by in Cornwall.
Andrews married aged 17 but divorced five years later claiming she had been abused.
Strangely, she was never punished for escaping from a previous open prison, East Sutton Park, Kent.
The £19,000 a year Royal servant, who saw Fergie’s job advertised in The Lady magazine, was jailed following a sensational trial at the Old Bailey, in which she dressed every day, head to toe, in black as if to show the jury she was in mourning.
Following his wedding snub, she murdered her partner at his home in Fulham, West London, following a holiday in Italy.
A “disgruntled” man from Liverpool smuggled a camera into a high-security psychiatric hospital in a bid to sell photos of notorious serial killer Ian Brady to the News of the World for £50,000, a court has heard.
Alan Hagan, 48, is on trial at the Old Bailey over his dealings with News of the World (NotW) crime reporter Lucy Panton in 2008 while he worked at Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside.
He was allegedly paid £1,000 for a story headlined “Suicide Brady hid pills in his sock” in February of that year, just a month after he first made contact with Ms Panton.
The pair went on to hatch a subterfuge nicknamed “The Project” to smuggle in a camera to take pictures and video of the ageing Moors Murderer – the first since his mugshot was released in 1966.
The court heard Hagan, who wanted to take “revenge” on bosses for his treatment, discussed payment of £50,000 for the shots.
Hagan, of Galston Close, Liverpool, denies the charge of misconduct in a public office.
Even though he did manage to smuggle a camera into Ashworth Hospital, the resulting pictures were not good enough quality and they were not published, jurors were told.
Prosecutor Mark Trafford QC told jurors that Brady was a 77-year-old patient at Ashworth who had become notorious for committing the Moors Murders with Myra Hindley, who is now dead.
Between 1963 and 1965 they murdered children on the moors around Manchester.
They were tried in 1966 and were described as “two sadistic killers of the utmost depravity” when they were sentenced to life imprisonment.
The case has stayed in the public’s consciousness over the following years as attempts were made to find the graves of the children, the prosecutor said.
Mr Trafford told jurors: “Their crimes vividly live on. The public disgust and horror of what these two people did has never and will never, of course, go away and nor, you may think, should it.
“But this case is not about what they did and what we think of them, or think of Ian Brady and what he did.
“You may well feel he is not worthy of any protection of anything anywhere. You may well think that he is beyond contempt, and you would not be blamed for that.
“But, as even Winston Churchill himself said, one of the ways we judge our society is how we look after our prisoners.”
In April 2008, an attempt by Hagan to smuggle a camera into the hospital inside a belt failed, the court heard.
Then in August, Ms Panton emailed her boss about meeting her Brady contact in Liverpool, telling him: “Meet Friday, it looks like there will be an opportunity to get the project back on.”
By October, Hagan had a new piece of kit enabling him to take pictures and video inside the secure hospital. But they were not good enough quality for the newspaper, the jury was told.
Mr Trafford said Hagan first approached the NotW because he was “disgruntled” with his employer and believed he had been “badly treated” by management.
He said: “His revenge, and his road to seek large sums of money, was to seek to sell pictures to the media. He had the position and the opportunity.
“He had seen and worked near people whose faces, whose crimes and whose past were known to many members of the public.
“He knew that such an action was not just forbidden, as you can well imagine, but was something that, the Crown say, was quite obvious to anybody who worked in or around the secure hospital system, an act that went to the very heart of the system and helped undermine all efforts to run such a system.”
Self-styled ‘angel turned evil’ Victorino Chua has been jailed for at least 35 years for murdering two patients and poisoning 20 others.
Father-of-two Chua, 49, described by detectives as a narcissistic psychopath, injected insulin into saline bags and ampoules while working on two acute wards at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, in June and July 2011.
These were unwittingly used by other nurses, causing a series of insulin overdoses to mainly elderly victims.
Filipino Chua was convicted by a jury at Manchester Crown Court yesterday following a three month trial.
His victims’ loved ones were in court today as Chua was told he would serve a minimum of 35 years before being eligible for parole.
Mr Justice openshaw told the court: “He has committed a dreadful crime and he must now pay the price.”
His victims’ loved ones packed the public gallery above the dock where Chua sat below, with 10 jurors returning to court to see him sent down following a trial stretching over four months.
All sat grim faced in silence as Mr Justice openshaw recounted the pain, suffering and deaths of his victims and the anguish of their loved ones.
Impassive throughout the entire trial, Chua, dressed in a brown coat zipped up to his neck, showed no flicker of emotion, only blinking as he sat listening.
Stifled cries could be heard from the public gallery as Chua was taken down.
Described as “dangerous and devious” who used, “considerable cunning” to harm his patients with insulin, the father of two injected insulin into saline bags and ampoules while working on two acute wards at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, in June and July 2011.
These were then used by other nurses on the ward – leading to a series of insulin overdoses to mainly elderly victims.
Passing sentence Mr Justice openshaw added: “What he did was inexplicable and irrational.
“It is a striking, sinister and truly wicked feature of the case, he did not personally administer contaminated products directly to most of these patients but having left saline bags contaminated with insulin he did not know which nurse would unwittingly collect them and still less to which patient the nurse would then unwittingly administer the poison.
“It is as if he left it to fate to decide who would be the victim.”
A self-confessed “angel turned evil” has been found guilty of murdering and poisoning hospital patients.
Nurse Victorino Chua, 49, injected insulin into saline bags and ampoules while working on two wards at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport in June and July 2011.
These were then unwittingly used by other nurses on the ward – leading to a series of insulin overdoses to mainly elderly victims.
Chua was convicted of murdering two patients but cleared of a third murder by a jury at Manchester Crown Court, which had been deliberating for 11 days.
The crown said the Filipino father-of-two had decided to take out his personal frustrations on patients “for reasons truly known only to himself”.
After police were called in, Chua was said to have “changed tack” by sabotaging prescription charts, doubling and trebling dosages – some with potentially lethal consequences – leading to his arrest in January 2012.
Among the evidence produced by the prosecution was a self-penned letter found at Chua’s home in Stockport after his arrest.
In the letter, described as “the bitter nurse confession” by Chua, he said he was “an angel turned into an evil person” and “there’s a devil in me”. He also wrote of having things he would “take to the grave”.
He was found guilty of murdering Tracy Arden, 44, and Alfred Weaver, 83. He was cleared of murdering Arnold Lancaster, 81, who was suffering from cancer, but convicted of attempting to cause him grievous bodily harm with intent by poisoning.
Ms Arden, who had multiple sclerosis, was admitted for a “mild” chest infection would have expected to “sail through this storm”. But she was pronounced dead eight hours after admission after being treated with a saline ampoule contaminated with insulin.
Mr Weaver was admitted with a chest infection and after being given a saline drip, he “appeared to be in agony, eyes rolling back in his head”. H e died 10 days later.
Chua blinked as the verdicts were delivered but gave no other reaction.
He will be sentenced tomorrow.
In his closing speech to the jury of six men and six women, prosecutor Peter Wright QC said the “bitter nurse confession” was “a living and unfinished document.
“There was unfinished business. It is a narrative of his life, of his feelings, of his pent up frustrations. It was a portent of things to come and of what he had done.
“It is an insight into his thought process during a period of considerable anger and disharmony both at home and at work which coincided with these events.
“The evidence points sadly to a man who, for reasons truly known only to himself, decided to take out his frustrations on his and others’ patients.”
Chua’s defence team said he had been wrongly singled out and made “a scapegoat”.
Peter Griffiths QC said the effort that Greater Manchester Police had put into the investigation resulted in “huge pressure” to bring someone to account.
Another Stepping Hill nurse, Rebecca Leighton, was arrested and charged in the early stages of the investigation and locked up for more than a month before she was released without charge, the jury heard.
The defence reminded the jury that none of Chua’s fingerprints were found on any of the contaminated ampoules or saline bags – and no one had seen him sabotaging any products while working at the hospital.
But Chua was the only nurse who was on duty at all the relevant times outlined in the prosecution case against him
In all Chua was convicted of two murders, 22 counts of attempted grievous bodily harm, one count of grievous bodily harm, seven attempts of administering poison and one count of administering poison.
He was cleared of one count of murder, one count of manslaughter and one count of attempting to administer poison.
In June and July of 2011 a growing feeling of unease and “something not right” overtook medics after one patient after another suddenly began falling inexplicably ill on Chua’s wards.
Overnight on the nightshift of July 10/11, five patients had unexpected hypoglycaemic attacks, a naturally rare event, which suddenly became, “alarmingly common”.
A similar pattern followed of “roller coaster” blood sugar levels for the poisoned patients, who soon rallied after being given glucose sugar infusions, only before they relapsed again from the insulin, unknown to medics, still in their drips.
Many patients went “full circle” and recovered, but three died, two of them as a direct result of the poisoning the jury ruled with their murder verdicts, and a fourth was left with permanent brain damage.
Mr Justice openshaw told the jury he will sentence Chua tomorrow, with many relatives of his victims expected to attend the hearing to see him jailed for life.
He told them: “My thanks, and the thanks of the community, for the part you have played in the administration of justice in this very important trial.”
He told jurors they were excused for life from serving on a jury again, if they so wish.
Police and detectives hugged members of the legal team after the jury left court.
Operation Roxburg, a multimillion-pound three-and-a-half-year police investigation, was one of the biggest and most complex launched by Greater Manchester Police, involving 7,700 police actions, 659 witnesses, a 28,100-page prosecution file and 16,000 items of unused evidence material.
The arrest and charging of initial suspect nurse Rebecca Leighton in July 2011, until charges were dropped two months later, was thrown back in the face of the prosecution – they had got it wrong then and were wrong now, Chua’s defence claimed, and they were under “huge pressure” to bring someone in.
Outside court, Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough said: “It’s been a search for the truth and the jury has reached the right decision.”