January 21, 2015
A hospital nurse murdered three patients and poisoned 18 others by contaminating saline bags and ampoules with insulin, a court heard.
Victorino Chua, 49, also deliberately altered the dosages on prescription charts while working as a staff nurse at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, Manchester Crown Court was told.
In all, 21 patients suffered as a result of his actions with three of them murdered, Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, and Derek Weaver, 83, jurors heard.
Chua, a Filipino who first came to the UK in 2002 and had worked at Stepping Hill since 2009, sat in the dock listening impassively as Peter Wright QC, began outlining the prosecution case against him.
Chua has pleaded not guilty to 36 charges in all, including the three alleged murders.
The other charges are made up of, one count of grievous bodily harm with intent, 23 counts of attempted grievous bodily harm, eight counts of attempting to cause a poison to be administered and one count of administering a poison.
All of the offences are said to have happened between June 2011 and January 2012.
Mr Wright said following a massive police investigation a ‘pattern’ began to emerge and the killer was identified.
He told the jury of 10 men and two women: ‘The pieces of the forensic jigsaw began to emerge.
‘The person responsible for each of these matters became increasingly clear. It was, we say, Victorino Chua.
‘As the investigation intensified, the common denominator, the defendant, was shown in sharper and sharper relief.
‘Motive for this course of conduct, whomsoever is responsible, is difficult to determine with precision.
‘Only the person responsible could ever know why they would embark on such conduct.’
Mr Wright said it was the prosecution’s job to prove Chua was responsible, not to say exactly why, or ‘what caused him to turn from a man who had dedicated his life to caring for others, to harming them’.
Chua had worked on two wards, A1 and A3, at the hospital – but it was a ‘lottery’ as to which patients were harmed, with the saline bags and ampoules contaminated with insulin by him to then be used by other unsuspecting doctors and nurses on innocent patients.
The prosecutor continued: ‘In the vast majority of cases, the poisoner seems to have contaminated products or altered prescription dosages completely at random.