Nurse Victorino Chua, found guilty of murdering and poisoning patients at Stepping Hill Hospital, has been jailed for a minimum of 35 years. Chua killed Tracey Arden, 44, and Derek Weaver, 83, at the hospital in Stockport by injecting insulin into saline bags and ampoules.
The father-of-two was convictedon Monday following a three-month trial. Judge Mr Justice Openshaw described Chua as an “experienced nurse who used cunning” to poison patients.
He was found guilty of tampering with saline bags and ampoules while working on two acute wards at the hospital in Greater Manchester, in June and July 2011. These were unwittingly used by other nurses, causing a series of insulin overdoses to mainly elderly victims. Detectives described Chua as a narcissistic psychopath. His victims’ families were at Manchester Crown Court as Chua was told he would serve at least 35 years in prison before being considered for parole.
Speaking outside court after the verdict, Mr Weaver’s sister, Lynda Bleasdale, said: “My sister had a heart attack the day before Derek died. Seeing all the stress of it was obviously a contributory factor to that.” She said Chua “obviously enjoyed watching people suffer”. Gary Arden, whose sister Tracey was murdered by Chua, said he felt “surprisingly nothing” for his sister’s killer. He added: “He’s been sentenced and the important thing is he’s not able to do this to anybody else.”
Chua was found guilty of murdering Tracey Arden and Derek Weaver
Judge Openshaw said it was “strikingly sinister and truly wicked” that Chua did not personally administer the insulin to most of the patients, so it was left to chance which of them were poisoned.
He said Chua poisoned Jack Beeley, 72, to “shut up a patient who he found particularly troublesome”. Grant Misell, 41, was left brain damaged after being poisoned, as the insulin overdose starved his brain of oxygen. Chua was found not guilty of the murder of 71-year-old Arnold Lancaster but convicted of poisoning him in an act the judge described as “indescribably wicked”. In all, Chua was convicted of two murders, 22 counts of attempted grievous bodily harm, one count of grievous bodily harm, seven attempts of administering poison and one count of administering poison.