A nurse who spent more than six weeks in custody was made a “scapegoat” when police “jumped the gun” as she was charged with contaminating saline, her lawyer has said.
Proceedings against Rebecca Leighton, 27, were discontinued on Friday as the probe into the tampering of medical products at Stepping Hill hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester, continues with detectives investigating the deaths of seven patients.
She said her life was “turned upside down” and became a “living hell” when she was arrested at her flat in Heaviley, Stockport on July 20, on suspicion of murder, and then formally accused of causing criminal damage with intent to endanger life two days later.
The alarm had been raised earlier that month when a higher than normal number of patients were reported to have “unexplained” low blood sugar levels amid fears saline solution had been contaminated with insulin.
Her solicitor, Carl Richmond, said: “They jumped the gun, though, and tried to build the case against her from there rather than the usual method of bailing her pending further inquiries.”
Mr Richmond said no decision had been made yet to sue police for wrongful arrest but Ms Leighton, her family and her legal team would meet as soon as possible to discuss the matter.
During a bail application last month, it emerged the evidence at that stage against the nurse amounted to her fingerprint being on a saline bag which was damaged by a needle.
Her thumb print was also discovered on the bottom of a bottle of anti-biotic fluid which contained insulin.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is planning to interview around 500 more people, including staff, patients and visitors, out of more than 700 who could have had access to the area during the time the tampering may have taken place.
A spokeswoman for Stepping Hill hospital said heightened security measures remain in place and will continue for the foreseeable future.
No-one is allowed to administer intravenous drips alone and all keys to medicine cabinets have to be signed for.