Friday 15 November 2019

Nurse dubbed 'angel of death' tells of horror of ordeal

Rebecca Leighton leaves the Nursing and Midwifery Council in London after the body ruled she can return to nursing
Rebecca Leighton leaves the Nursing and Midwifery Council in London after the body ruled she can return to nursing

Martha Linden

A nurse accused of tampering with saline solution at a hospital spoke today of her horror at being dubbed an "angel of death" and "killer nurse" by newspapers.

Rebecca Leighton said she was "passionate" about her job and wanted to return to a "normal life" after charges against her were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) earlier this month.

"It was hard. I learned, obviously, through what I had been through, not to look too far down the line as to which way my life is going to go," she told ITV1's This Morning.

"I just had that little bit of faith that this is going to end and it has got to end because surely they have got to realise at some point that it is not me."

Miss Leighton was speaking in her first interview after being charged in July with contaminating saline solution at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

The 27-year-old spent more than six weeks in custody but was dramatically freed on September 2 after proceedings against her were discontinued.

Last week she was cleared to return to work by the Nursing and Midwifery Council subject to conditions, despite admitting to the theft of opiate-based drugs.

But she remains suspended on full pay by Stepping Hill while inquiries continue into allegations that she stole medication.

Miss Leighton told This Morning of her disbelief when she was arrested by police in the early hours of July 20 at her home in Heaviley, Stockport.

"It was horrendous, absolutely horrendous. Obviously I was asleep, in bed, I was meant to be at work the next day and I woke up to the police banging on the door," she said.

"Even then, I just thought that the police were wanting to ask further questions, or interviews or whatever... I just wasn't expecting what was to come at all.

"Obviously, that was when they arrested me. I have never felt how I felt there and then when they said the words that they said to me."

She added: "Even when they arrested me, I thought I would be home for teatime because surely they know I have done nothing wrong."

She said she was offered the chance to appoint a solicitor at the police station on her arrest but refused to do so initially as she had nothing to hide.

"I just couldn't make sense, I couldn't string a sentence together, I just couldn't understand what was going on, why it was me that was arrested, any of it. None of it made sense to me," she said.

PA Media

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