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article imageOp-Ed: Charges against Rebecca Leighton dropped

By Alexander Baron     Sep 2, 2011 in Crime
Stockport - In mid-July, a number of suspicious deaths at a Stockport hospital raised concerns of a serial killer on the ward; today, charges against the only suspect were dropped.
Sometimes a case looks rock solid, with evidence written in stone, or in this case, blood, then something happens, and it fades away like morning mist. The case against Rebecca Leighton appears to be one of these cases. After a complex investigation in July, she was arrested, questioned extensively by Greater Manchester Police, and then charged not with murder but with three counts of criminal damage with intent to endanger life, three counts of being reckless as to whether life was being endangered, and one of theft of medicine.
At least one tabloid newspaper took it as given that she was for the high jump, and splashed photographs from her Facebook page all over its own webpages with more than a smattering of inneundo – work is such a chore, such high pressure, maybe I’ll kill a few patients to spice it up a bit, heck, they’re mostly old, and no one will ever know.
Fortunately, the paper concerned did not go the whole hog, probably on account of the then ongoing Chris Jefferies case, and now, all charges against the second coming of Beverley Allitt have been dropped, including the theft charge; Miss Leighton was released from HMP Styal this afternoon. Nurse has medicine in her bathroom cabinet? Hmm, maybe they’d better charge half the households in the country as well?
This is though no time for levity; there are still a number of people dead in suspicious circumstances, but due to the paucity of details released and this incredible backtracking, the public cannot yet be sure that any crime has actually been committed, much less anyone has been murdered. Early last month, the death of another suspected victim, an 84 year old woman, was ruled out without the same fanfare as the announcement of either the criminal investigation or the charging of Rebecca Leighton. The sum total of the evidence against her now appears to be that her fingerprints were found on one damaged saline bag, a bag she had every right to touch as a sister.
As the Assistant Chief Constable said, this has been a complex and difficult investigation. It remains to be seen if anyone else will be charged in connection with any of these suspicious deaths, though one person who has been curiously silent is the Stockport Coroner. Complex though this investigation may be, it remains to be seen why none of these suspicious deaths has yet been ruled homicides, if that truly is the case, and if this alleged tampering with medical equipment and contamination of saline drips really was deliberate.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Rebecca Leighton, Murder, Stockport, Stepping Hill Hospital, Greater manchester police
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