SELF-STYLED ‘angel turned evil’ Victorino Chua has been jailed for at least 35 years for murdering two patients and poisoning 20 others.
Father-of-two Chua, 49, described by detectives as a narcissistic psychopath, injected insulin into saline bags and ampoules while working on two acute wards at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, in June and July 2011.
These were unwittingly used by other nurses, causing a series of insulin overdoses to mainly elderly victims.
Filipino Chua was convicted by a jury at Manchester Crown Court yesterday following a three month trial.
His victims’ loved ones were in court today as Chua was told he would serve a minimum of 35 years before being eligible for parole.
Mr Justice Openshaw told the court: “He has committed a dreadful crime and he must now pay the price.”
His victims’ loved ones packed the public gallery above the dock where Chua sat below, with 10 jurors returning to court to see him sent down following a trial stretching over four months.
All sat grim faced in silence as Mr Justice Openshaw recounted the pain, suffering and deaths of his victims and the anguish of their loved ones.
Impassive throughout the entire trial, Chua, dressed in a brown coat zipped up to his neck, showed no flicker of emotion, only blinking as he sat listening.
Stifled cries could be heard from the public gallery as Chua was taken down.
Described as “dangerous and devious” who used, “considerable cunning” to harm his patients with insulin, the father of two injected insulin into saline bags and ampoules while working on two acute wards at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, in June and July 2011.
These were then used by other nurses on the ward - leading to a series of insulin overdoses to mainly elderly victims.
Passing sentence Mr Justice Openshaw added: “What he did was inexplicable and irrational.
“It is a striking, sinister and truly wicked feature of the case, he did not personally administer contaminated products directly to most of these patients but having left saline bags contaminated with insulin he did not know which nurse would unwittingly collect them and still less to which patient the nurse would then unwittingly administer the poison.
“It is as if he left it to fate to decide who would be the victim.”
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.
Chua received 25 life sentences in total for his crime spree and will be aged 84 before his 35-year minimum term expires and he is eligible for parole.
Chaos and panic followed in his wake as patients suffered sudden illness that left hospital staff in turmoil and police on the brink of closing the hospital for the sake of patient safety.
Tracey Arden, 44 and Alfred Weaver, 83, suffered agonising deaths and a third, Grant Misell, 41, was left brain damaged as the insulin overdoses starved the victims’ brains of oxygen.
Chua was cleared of murdering Arnold Lancaster, 71, but found guilty of attempting to cause him grievous bodily harm.
Among the evidence produced by the prosecution was a self-penned letter found at Chua’s home in Stockport after his arrest in January 2012 for changing prescription charts so patients would get dangerously wrong amounts of drugs.
In the letter, described as “the bitter nurse confession” by Chua, he said he was “an angel turned into an evil person” and “there’s a devil in me”. He also wrote of having things he would “take to the grave”.
Outside court Gary Arden, whose sister Tracey was murdered by Chua said: “Today marks the end of a really difficult four-year period for all the families but in particular my parents and Tracey’s daughters.
“The sentence that’s been handed out by the judge today reflects, whilst it won’t bring any of the victims, Tracey back, or rectify what’s been done by Victorino Chua, I think it recognises the gravity of the offences and will make sure he will never be able to harm anyone again in the future.”
Asked how he felt about his sister’s killer, Mr Arden replied: “Surprisingly nothing. He’s been sentenced and the important thing is he’s not able to do this to anybody else.”
Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough, who led the investigation for Greater Manchester Police, said: “Chua will serve at least 35 year in prison. He will be in his mid 80s before he can be considered for parole.
“On a final comment I suppose I should say something about Victorino Chua.
“He’s consistently failed to show any form of emotion during this process and any form of remorse for what he’s done.
“And in fact even through the lengthy process of sentencing this morning, there was not a flicker of emotion on his face apart from what appeared to be a general contempt for all the proceedings on going.”
Asked about the questions raised over Chua’s qualifications and his vetting when he came to the UK to work as a nurse, Mr Barraclough replied: “My view is, there is one person responsible for these crimes and that is Victorino Chua.
“Whatever other complications have arisen around this, whatever we have found in our investigation, it doesn’t alter the fact that it is Victorino Chua who has committed these offences and nobody else.”