Blackpool hospital worker arrested on suspicion of rape, murder and sexual assault

A hospital worker has been arrested on suspicion of murder, rape and sexual assault following an investigation into the mistreatment of patients on a stroke ward. 

The worker – who has not been named – is accused of sexually assaulting two patients and one healthcare professional working in the unit at the Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

His arrest follows a murder probe into the death of 75-year-old stroke patient Valerie Kneale, who died from a haemorrhage caused by a non-medical related internal injury. 

The suspect was arrested on suspicion of murder, two offences of rape and one offence of sexual assault. 

He has been suspended by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and is currently in custody. 

A hospital worker has been arrested on suspicion of murder, rape and sexual assault following an investigation into the mistreatment of patients on a stroke ward. His arrest follows a murder probe into the death of 75-year-old stroke patient Valerie Kneale (pictured), who died from a haemorrhage caused by a non-medical related internal injury

A hospital worker has been arrested on suspicion of murder, rape and sexual assault following an investigation into the mistreatment of patients on a stroke ward. His arrest follows a murder probe into the death of 75-year-old stroke patient Valerie Kneale (pictured), who died from a haemorrhage caused by a non-medical related internal injury

 A hospital worker has been arrested on suspicion of murder, rape and sexual assault following an investigation into the mistreatment of patients on a stroke ward. His arrest follows a murder probe into the death of 75-year-old stroke patient Valerie Kneale (pictured), who died from a haemorrhage caused by a non-medical related internal injury

The worker - who has not been named - is accused of sexually assaulting two patients and one healthcare professional working in the unit at the Blackpool Victoria Hospital (file image)

The worker - who has not been named - is accused of sexually assaulting two patients and one healthcare professional working in the unit at the Blackpool Victoria Hospital (file image)

The worker – who has not been named – is accused of sexually assaulting two patients and one healthcare professional working in the unit at the Blackpool Victoria Hospital (file image) 

The post-mortem examination on Ms Kneale was one of several carried out after police were made aware of allegations of mistreatment and neglect in November 2018. 

It lead to police beginning a murder investigation into Ms Kneale’s death.

Officers subsequently received information about alleged serious sexual assaults against two patients and a healthcare professional working on the stroke unit.

Lancashire Police Detective Chief Inspector Jill Johnston said: ‘We have today arrested a man in connection with a number of serious offences.

‘We understand this will cause some significant concern in the community but please be reassured we have a dedicated team of officers conducting a number of enquiries.

The worker - who has not been named - is accused of sexually assaulting two patients and one healthcare professional working in the unit (file image)

The worker - who has not been named - is accused of sexually assaulting two patients and one healthcare professional working in the unit (file image)

The worker – who has not been named – is accused of sexually assaulting two patients and one healthcare professional working in the unit (file image)

‘These are complicated and sensitive allegations which we are committed to investigating thoroughly.

‘We are offering support to those involved and they are being updated throughout the process by trained officers.

‘Our priority and the priority of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is to ensure the safety of patients. We are working closely with the Trust as well as HM Coroner for Blackpool and Fylde as part of the investigation.

‘If you have any information or have worked on the stroke unit and can assist with our enquiries, please come forward and speak to police immediately.’ 

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