A nurse has been found guilty of murdering two patients at Stockport’s Stepping Hill Hospital.
Victorino Chua, 49, deliberately contaminated products that were stored on acute treatment wards at the hospital with insulin, which would then be used by unsuspecting staff members to treat patients.
The insulin would then cause patients to suffer hypoglycaemia, a drop in blood sugar levels, which can result in death. Chua was found guilty of murdering two patients, Tracy Arden and Alfred Derek Weaver, known as Derek.
He was also found guilty of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm to one patient who suffered a brain injury as a result of being poisoned and for whom Chua falsified his medical records, and attempting to intentionally cause grievous bodily harm to 21 other patients.
Due to the ongoing inquiry, Chua changed tact as he sought to poison other patients - again indirectly - in January 2012, by altering patients’ prescriptions.
Of all the employees at the hospital, which caters for patients from across the High Peak, detectives established that Chua was the only person on shift near to all 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.
Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough of Greater Manchester Police said: “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.”
During a search of Chua’s house after his arrest, detectives found a letter in which he wrote: “I’m a nice person, but there’s a devil in me.”
Ann Barnes, chief executive of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stepping Hill Hospital, said; “These were shocking and appalling crimes that took place when the patients should have been receiving nothing but the highest quality care.
“This has been an extremely difficult time for the victims and their families and our thoughts have been with them throughout this time. This has been a very complex and lengthy investigation. We are sorry for the distress they suffered at the time of the incidents and during the course of bringing Victorino Chua to justice.
“What is clear from the evidence is that an extremely dangerous criminal has been brought to justice. In part this was due to staff identifying the problems quickly and also fully assisting the police investigation. We would like to thank our staff for showing great professionalism throughout this time. They have been determined that these heinous crimes should not overshadow the good care delivered every day to our patients.
“Whilst Victorino Chua’s crimes are truly dreadful, we are sure patients will understand that they have no bearing at all upon our care. Our hospital has a strong track record and good reputation. We are grateful for the outstanding public support and confidence in our services and are pleased that this has never wavered.”
Chua will be sentenced tomorrow (Tuesday).