Blackpool Vic rape and murder suspect has bail extended for second time
A former member of staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital who was arrested on suspicion of murder and rape has had his bail extended for a second time.
It is the third time the unnamed healthcare professional has been bailed following his arrest on March 3, when he was taken into custody and quizzed by detectives about the death of stroke patient Valerie Kneale two years ago.
He was also questioned about two alleged rapes and an alleged sex attack on a colleague, before being bailed until on March 31.
In April, Lancashire Police said the man had been "rebailed" for two months until June 3, whilst detectives continued their investigation.
But today (Monday, June 28), the force has confirmed that the former medic has had his bail further extended for another three months to September 3.
The man had been suspended by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust prior to his arrest.
When bail was initially granted, Det Ch Insp Jill Johnston said the allegations were "complicated and sensitive", and the force was "committed to investigating thoroughly".
Why was the man arrested?
The man was arrested by police after post-mortem examinations were conducted as part of investigations into suspected poisoning of patients on the stroke unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
One of the post-mortem examinations investigated the death of Valerie Kneale, 75, from Blackpool, who had died from bleeding caused by a “non-medical-related internal injury”.
Following this, Lancashire Police launched a separate murder investigation, which it said was not linked to the ongoing investigation into allegations of poisoning and neglect.
As a result of this investigation, information related to other allegations of serious sexual assaults against two patients has been received, as well as the sexual assault of a healthcare professional working on the stroke unit.
On March 3, the healthcare professional was arrested on suspicion of murder, two offences of rape and one offence of sexual assault.
He was initially bailed to March 31 before his bail was extended to June 3. It has since been further extended until September 3, 2021.