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Don't rush to judgement on Stepping Hill

  • Comments (9)

Now that a second nurse from Stepping Hill Hospital, Victorino Chua, l has been arrested for allegedly tampering with medication, I wonder whether those who attacked Rebecca Leighton so viciously will reflect on their actions.

Ms Leighton was arrested last year shortly after the police inquiry began into a number of suspicious deaths at the hospital. Her arrest led to a media feeding frenzy as newspapers scrambled to unearth ‘dirt’ on her and portray her as a rather sleazy party girl. Meanwhile, Facebook pages sprang up containing shocking threats and incitements to violence against her and calling for punishments last seen in medieval Britain.

While Facebook eventually took down the offending pages I am yet to hear of any individuals being arrested for posting such malicious content. It seems that, while teenage boys indulging in riot fantasies from their bedrooms must be given long prison sentences, it’s OK to threaten to kill a nurse - so long as she’s suspected of wrongdoing.

Even when Ms Leighton was released without any charges related to tampering with medication, social media saw plenty of comments about her having ‘got away with it’. If she had the means to do so, I suspect she could have successfully sued hundreds if not thousands of people who libelled her in their rush to judgement.

Nurses are entrusted with caring for people at their most vulnerable, so it is not surprising that there is an outcry when they abuse this position - regardless of whether this abuse is serious enough to be deemed criminal. However, they are entitled to the same treatment as anyone else when suspected of abusing their position - they are innocent until proven guilty. I hope Mr Chua receives better treatment than Ms Leighton.

  • Comments (9)

Readers' comments (9)

  • I agree Ann. Innocent until proven guilty was not the philosophy in this case. I was shocked and disgusted at how quickly the newspapers (and others) attacked her.

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  • "... it’s OK to threaten to kill a nurse - so long as she’s suspected of wrongdoing."

    'suspected' being the operative word

    the damage such Schadenfreude can do to such an individual is untold. Career and any resumption of a normal life may be extremely problematic, as well as coming to terms with personal issues such as trust in fellow human beings and self-esteem.

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  • Adam Roxby

    In many of the news stories I havent heard about what has happened to Ms. Leighton since her arrest.

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  • Adam,

    I should imagine after her ordeal and treatment by the media, police, etc. she wishes to stay out of the public eye to recover and try to get her life back together. It is a similar story to the way the innocent retired school ?head ? master and landlord of Joanna Yates was treated.

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  • Unfortunately Ms Leighton was apparently sacked for alledgedly stealing medication from the hospital. Who knows if this was true or they simply wanted rid of her. Either way she will find it very difficult to ever get another nursing job.

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  • michael stone

    The concept that people are innocent until proven guilty, should mean that nobody implies guilt in the absence of some reasonably strong evidence.

    But the Police, do not seem to believe in that - especially when a situation is confused, the Police seem to arrest (or, if not arrest, 'lengthily question aggressively) people not because they have serious evidence, but simply because the situation is complex and probably confused, and the police are effectively trying to make sure they have covered their own backs.

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  • It seems to me that the Police allow themselves to become pressurised by public opinion as manipulated by the tabloid media and this is so wrong on so many levels.

    And once in the spotlight, every little flaw and error no matter how long ago or how small in your life (professional or personal) will be highlighted and judged by the Media - and lets face it, who the hell are they to judge given what they've been up to over recent years!

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  • I TO HAVE WORKED AT THIS PARTICULAR HOSPITAL FOR 8YRS IN THE PAST,AND MUST SAY THAT THE STAFF/WORK COLLEAGUES TREATED PEOPLE IN A DISPICABLE MANNER BASED ON THEIR RANK...I HAVE TWO DIPLOMAS AND WAS DEEMED FIT TO RUN A RESIDENTIAL EST FOR QUITE SOMETIME AS A DEPUTY MANAGER....HOWEVER,DUE TO THE POSITION I HELD WHILST WORKING THERE, THAT NOTHING BUT SOOO MANY EGOTISTICICAL NURSES ALL PREPARED TO EITHER LIE/CHEAT/AND PROFESSIONALLY ABUSE WORK COLLEAGUES FOR THEIR OWN FINANCIAL GAIN...ALSO, I HAVE TO BEEN GIVEN ANTIBIOTICS DUE TO A UTI OVER THE CHRISTMAS PERIOD DUE TO NOT BEING ABLE TO GET A DR'S APPT IN TIME. REBECCA HAS, AND WILL, CONTINUE TO BE MADE AN EXAMPLE OF DUE TO MANAGERS GRATIFICATION OF SO CALLED JUSTICE. I WAS TOLD TO TAKE CARDIAC PATIENTS TO A CARDIAC WARD AND PUT THEM INTO THE DAY ROOM[MAKESHIFT BEDRROM] WHICH WAS NOT ONLY AT THE ENTRANCE OF THE WARD WHERE THEY COULDN'T BE MONITORED, BUT ALSO WITHOUT ACCESS TO CALL BELLS HAD SOMEBODY ARRESTED....DISGUSTING I REFUSED FULL STOP AND THIS WAS SO-CALLED MANAGEMENT MAKING THESE DECISIONS...

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  • Susan Nelles, (Canada), Lucia de Berk (the Netherlands), Colin Norris, Ben Geen all over again.

    http://thejusticegap.com/2014/08/become-convicted-serial-killer-without-killing-anyone/

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