Nurse in court over hospital deaths

A 27-year-old nurse charged in connection with the deaths of five hospital patients was remanded in custody yesterday.

Rebecca Leighton appeared at Manchester Magistrates Court where she was accused of three counts of criminal damage with intent to endanger life and three counts of criminal damage being reckless as to whether life was being endangered.

She also faced a charge of stealing medicine from Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.

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Leighton was arrested at her flat on Wednesday by detectives investigating the contamination of saline solution at Stepping Hill, where she worked.

During the 20-minute hearing, she spoke only to confirm her full name, date of birth and address.

Leighton wiped away tears as she first came into the dock before regaining her composure as she glanced at a group of around 15 family and friends.

Derek Weaver, 83, from Stockport, died on Thursday after suffering a hypoglycaemic episode on 11 July, a day after he was admitted from his care home with breathing problems.

Multiple sclerosis sufferer Tracey Arden, 44, of Heaviley, died on 7 July, and retired photographer Arnold Lancaster, 71, of Romiley, died on 11 July.

George Keep, 84, of Cheadle, died on 14 July after being admitted to the hospital with a broken hip, while on the same day 84-year-old Vera Pearson also died.