Buxton patients among killer nurse Victorino Chua’s victims

Victorino Chua, a nurse at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, has been found guilty of murdering two patients by deliberately contaminating products with insulin.
Victorino Chua, a nurse at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, has been found guilty of murdering two patients by deliberately contaminating products with insulin.
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Two Buxton people were among the 21 patients poisoned by killer nurse Victorino Chua at Stepping Hill Hospital.

And two other victims were from the Hope Valley and High Peak, it has emerged.

The 49-year-old was found guilty of murdering two patients at the Stockport hospital on Monday and on Tuesday, he was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 35 years.

Chua deliberately contaminated products stored on the acute treatment wards at the hospital with insulin, and unsuspecting staff members would then use the products to treat patients.

The insulin would cause patients to suffer hypoglycaemia – a drop in sugar levels - which can result in death. As well as being found guilty of the murders of Tracy Arden and Derek Weaver, Chua was also found guilty of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm to one patient, who suffered a brain injury after being poisoned, and attempting to intentionally cause grievous bodily harm to 21 other patients.

Among those 21 patients was Doreen Brace, from Buxton, who was admitted on July 7, 2011 with suspected heart failure. A doctor’s signature was forged on her notes so she was given two saline bags, which led to a hypoglycaemic episode from insulin contamination from a bag given to her by Chua. She was treated and recovered.

Detectives investigating the Stepping Hill Hospital poisonings found a letter killer Chua had written in which he said: “I’m a nice person but there’s a devil in me.”

In broken English, he wrote: “So I’m writing this letter in case something happen to me my family can continue my case or can tell somebody to look at it and work out how an angel turn to an evil person. The bitter nurse confession. Got lots to tell but I just take it to my grave.”

Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “We are pleased with the sentence and I believe it reflects the seriousness of what Chua has done, and can hopefully go some way to providing a resolution for the victims and the families of those that he has so painfully harmed.

“On behalf of Greater Manchester Police, I would like to once again extend my sympathies to the families of Tracey Arden and Derek Weaver as well as all the victims of poisoning and their families.

“Hidden in plain sight and using unsuspecting colleagues to carry out his sinister plan, Victorino Chua deliberately poisoned and murdered those who were under his care and those who were at their most vulnerable and most in need of help.

“Chua has demonstrated clear narcissistic and psychopathic tendencies and such indiscriminate poisoning is testament to that. There can be no doubt that he intended to both murder and injure patients under his care and did not give a second thought as to who would be injured or the devastation this would cause them and their families.”

And Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “Our thoughts have been with the victims and their families throughout this time.

“We know they have suffered great distress, but hope this sentence helps provide some closure for them in terms of seeing that justice has been served.

“During the police investigation and trial we were not able to have direct contact with the patients affected or their families. Now the trial has finished we would be happy for them to contact us if they want to discuss anything.”

Due to the ongoing inquiry, Chua changed tack as he sought to poison other patients - again indirectly - in January 2012, by altering patients’ prescriptions.

Of all the employees at the hospital, including permanent, temporary and bank staff, detectives established that Chua was the only person on shift near to three key events.

He was present when five patients were poisoned overnight between July 10 and 11, 2011; when contaminated ampoules were found overnight between July 11 and 12, 2011; and when prescription charts were fraudulently altered on January 3 2012.

After he was arrested, a team of detectives flew out to Chua’s native Philippines where they discovered he had left one hospital after being caught stealing. They also visited the now defunct Galang training college where he claimed to have obtained his medical qualifications. But after investigations, serious doubt has been cast relating to the authenticity of them.

Jurors deliberated for 11 days before returning the guilty verdict at Manchester Crown Court.