Police make hospital deaths pledge
Police have vowed to leave "no stone unturned" in their investigation into the deaths of seven hospital patients, promising to interview at least another 500 potential witnesses.
The probe into a number of unexplained deaths at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport was said to be "very much active" with officers working "around the clock".
Greater Manchester Police is planning to interview around 500 more people, including staff, patients and visitors, out of more than 700 who could have had access to the area during the time the tampering could have taken place.
Two hundred people have already been spoken to as part of the inquiry, compared in size by the force to the 1996 IRA Manchester bomb inquiry.
Proceedings against nurse Rebecca Leighton, who spent more than six weeks in custody accused of contaminating saline, were discontinued on Friday.
The 27-year-old, of Heaviley, Stockport, had been facing three counts of causing criminal damage with intent to endanger life and three alternative counts of causing damage being reckless as to whether life was endangered. On Friday evening she said she had been "living in hell" since her arrest, initially on suspicion of murder.
Detectives are investigating the deaths of seven patients - and potentially 40 victims in total - connected with sabotaged saline drips.
Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said thousands of items had been examined and police have spoken to 200 witnesses and plan to speak to around 500 more.
He said: "To prove a case you need not only to prove guilt but to eliminate the possible involvement of others. In this case our further investigation has shown there were over 700 people who could have had access to the area concerned in a tight time period
"This is a unique investigation given the nature of the crime scene, the numbers who had access to it and the complexity of the medical evidence. Thousands of items have been subject to examination and we have interviewed hundreds of witnesses, with hundreds more left to speak to. We will leave no stone unturned in our investigation."