Stepping Hill Deaths: Update

Police have named the fifth patient whose death at the hospital in Stockport at the centre of sabotage allegations is being investigated by police.

Vera Pearson, 84, died on July 14 at Stepping Hill Hospital. Her case was referred to detectives by a coroner earlier this week because of her low blood sugar level.

Police say saline solution at the hospital was contaminated with insulin, which can cause low blood sugar.

She was not among the tally of 14 patients who police initially believed had been affected by a batch of 36 saline vials sabotaged with insulin.

Police are also looking at the suspicious deaths of Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, George Keep, 84, and Derek Weaver, 83.

Detectives have until 9.05pm to question Stepping Hill nurse Rebecca Leighton, 27, on suspicion of murder before they must decide whether to charge her, release her from custody or apply for extra time to detain her - possibly up until Sunday morning.

It has been reported that South Manchester Coroner John Pollard will now review all deaths at the hospital since July 7, with all future deaths also referred to him.

Greater Manchester Police has admitted it was "likely'' it will be asked to investigate further deaths by the coroner.

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

Multiple sclerosis sufferer Ms Arden, of Heaviley, died on July 7. Retired photographer Mr Lancaster, of Romiley, died on July 11, while Mr Keep, of Cheadle, died on July 14 after being admitted to the hospital with a broken hip.

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