Vic's poison plot probe: 'Coroner asked to review deaths of eight patients' feared to have been drugged by medics

The resort’s coroner Alan Wilson has been asked to review eight deaths by detectives investigating a suspected poison plot probe on the stroke unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, it was reported.

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 3:27 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st May 2021, 8:12 pm
Detectives believe elderly patients were given prescription-only drugs to keep them heavily sedated at night. The drug, Zopiclone, is widely used and, when used correctly, perfectly safe.

Mr Wilson was set to decide if there is a need for inquests to be held, according to BBC North West Tonight.

Police have remained largely tight-tipped throughout the course of the long-running investigation, which started in November 2018 and saw seven hospital workers arrested, quizzed, and bailed.

It also sparked a separate murder investigation after former stroke unit patient Valerie Kneale, 75, was found to have died from “non-medical-related” internal bleeding.

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A hospital worker, since suspended by Vic bosses, was arrested on suspicion of killing Mrs Kneale in March, while he was also grilled over two rape allegations relating to patients, and an alleged sex attack on a colleague.

He was later bailed – and then re-bailed until June 3.

The poison plot probe got underway after a whistleblower raised the alarm, with hospital chiefs calling in police.

Detectives believe elderly patients were given prescription-only drugs to keep them heavily sedated at night.

The drug, Zopiclone, is widely used and, when used correctly, perfectly safe.

A “number” of post-mortem examinations were carried out, police said, though the force resisted pressure from local MPs to be more transparent about the investigation, which senior officers accepted caused concern among the public.

However, The Gazette revealed in the early days of the investigation at least eight people had been flagged as possible victims.

One grieving daughter, who was told to cancel her dad’s funeral so tests could be done, said: “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

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