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Nurse denies contaminating products

Published 14/04/2015

Victorino Chua said he wrote the letter on the advice of his counsellor
Victorino Chua said he wrote the letter on the advice of his counsellor

A nurse accused of murdering three hospital patients and poisoning others has told a jury he did not contaminate any medical products with insulin.

Victorino Chua, 49, entered the witness box at Manchester Crown Court to give evidence against claims that he contaminated saline bags and ampoules with insulin using a hypodermic needle at Stepping Hill Hospital between June and July 2011.

The Crown say the defendant changed tack in January 2012 amid an ongoing police investigation and increased security when he deliberately altered drug dosages on prescription charts.

His barrister, Peter Griffiths QC, told the defendant that he would ask him some questions about his family and personal life but first would ask specific questions about the charges he faces.

Focusing first on the events of summer 2011 at the Stockport hospital, Mr Griffiths said to Chua: "You are aware that the underlying and fundamental allegations laid against you by the prosecution in respect of these counts is that you contaminated medical products with insulin at that hospital and the medical products were saline bags, ampoules and the like.

"My first question to you is did you ever at any time contaminate any medical product with any insulin?"

Chua replied: "No sir."

Mr Griffiths turned to allegations that he caused grievous bodily harm (GBH) to one patient, Grant Misell, and attempted to cause GBH to another, Beryl Hope.

He said: "With regard to those two patients, they were in your care when they suffered, the jury may conclude, some hypoglycaemic episode. Did you ever knowingly administer an insulin-contaminated product to either of those patients?"

Chua said: "No sir."

His barrister continued: "Did you so far as those two patients are concerned falsify their medical notes in any way?

"No sir," the defendant repeated.

Turning to the charges he murdered patients Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, and Derek Weaver, 83, Mr Griffiths asked: "As far as those three patients, deceased now of course, it is not suggested in this case that they were in your care at material times but I must ask ask this question, did you ever intend to kill those patients?"

Chua said again: "No sir."

Mr Griffiths said: "Did you ever intend to cause those patients, or any patient, serious harm - that is grievous bodily harm?"

Chua replied: "No sir."

Chua has pleaded not guilty to 36 charges in all, including three alleged murders, 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.

Mr Griffiths went on: "For the sake of completeness, the majority of the June and July counts are framed as allegations of attempts to cause really serious harm. Did you at any time attempt to cause any serious harm, or any harm, to patients?"

"No sir," said Chua.

He also told Mr Griffiths in relation to two counts that he had not contaminated a bottle of antibiotics with insulin or contaminated a saline bag with a drug named Lidocaine.

Addressing the January 2012 charges, Mr Griffiths said to the witness: "The underlying and fundamental allegations laid against you by the prosecution is that you altered the prescription charts of patients. My question is this, did you alter any of those prescription charts?"

Chua replied: "No sir."

Mr Griffiths said: "In each of these counts, there is an added ingredient that you had an intention to injure, aggrieve or annoy. Did you ever intend to injure, aggrieve or annoy any patient?"

"No sir," said Chua.

Then he was asked about a specific alleged victim, Gillian Millar, who he is said to have attempted to administer poison to in January 2012.

Mr Griffiths said: "Gillian Millar, her prescription chart was not altered but it is alleged by the prosecution that you offered some sort of unprescribed medicine to that lady after she arrived on the ward. Did you do so?"

The Filipino father-of-two replied: "No sir."

The trial was adjourned and will continue tomorrow.

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