Rebecca Leighton faces trial next year for Stockport’s Stepping Hill hospital deaths after preliminary hearing at Manchester Crown Court

By Thomas Midlane & Amy Senior

The nurse charged in connection with the ‘saline sabotage’ case at Stockport’s Stepping Hill hospital is due to go on trial early next year.

Rebecca Leighton, 27, of Buxton Road, Heavily, is accused of deliberately contaminating saline solution with insulin.

An exhausted-looking, visibly nervous Leighton appeared at her preliminary hearing at Manchester Crown Court via videolink from Styal Prison.

Wearing a polka dot top with hair scraped tightly back, she spoke only to confirm her identity.

She is charged with theft and criminal damage with intent to endanger life or being reckless to whether life is endangered.

Leighton’s barrister, Simon Csoka QC, said she was “anxious that this matter be tried as soon as possible”.

However, speaking for the prosecution, Peter Wright QC stressed that any timetable for the trial would be provisional, owing to the large number of individuals being interviewed, plus the fact toxicology and pathology tests were still ongoing. 

“The investigation itself is very wide-ranging, there are a large number of individuals police are hoping to track and interview,” said QC Wright.

“There are over 600 exhibits being examined and documents including patient records and receipts of storage and subsequent use of various items.”

A provisional trial date was set for 28 February 2012, and Leighton is next due to appear in court on 17 October for a plea and case management hearing.

Leighton remains in custody, and her custody period is due to expire on January 20 2012. However, the Hon. Mr Justice Andrew Smith said the court would be happy to extend that period.  

More related stories:

Stepping Hill nurse arrested on suspicion of murder remanded in custody in Manchester

Nurse arrested on suspicion of murder in Stockport saline sabotage case



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