Blackpool Vic rape and murder suspect bailed for a fourth time

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A former Blackpool Vic staff member who was arrested on suspicion of murder and rape has been bailed for a fourth time.

 

The former healthcare professional was arrested on March 3, 2021 and taken into custody on suspicion of murdering stroke patient Valerie Kneale two years ago, as well as two alleged rapes and an alleged sex attack on a Vic colleague

The former healthcare professional was arrested on March 3, 2021 and taken into custody on suspicion of murdering stroke patient Valerie Kneale two years ago, as well as two alleged rapes and an alleged sex attack on a Vic colleague

The unnamed healthcare professional was arrested on March 3 and taken into custody on suspicion of murdering stroke patient Valerie Kneale two years ago.

He had also been suspected of two alleged rapes and an alleged sex attack on a Vic colleague when he was initially bailed to March 31.

Since then, he has been ‘rebailed’ three times in six months as detectives continue to investigate the allegations against him.

Today (Friday, September 3), the man was due to answer his latest bail but Lancashire Police say an extra 7 weeks’ bail has been granted.

The man will now remain on bail until Thursday, October 21. He remains suspended by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

When bail was granted for the first time in March, Det Ch Insp Jill Johnston said the allegations against him were “complicated and sensitive” and the force was “committed to investigating thoroughly”.

Why was the medic arrested?

The man was arrested by police after post-mortem examinations were conducted as part of investigations into suspected poisoning of patients on the stroke unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

One of the post-mortem examinations investigated the death of Valerie Kneale, 75, from Blackpool, who had died from bleeding caused by a “non-medical-related internal injury”.

Following this, Lancashire Police launched a separate murder investigation, which it said was not linked to the ongoing investigation into allegations of poisoning and neglect.

As a result of this investigation, information related to other allegations of serious sexual assaults against two patients has been received, as well as the sexual assault of a healthcare professional working on the stroke unit.

On March 3, the healthcare professional was arrested on suspicion of murder, two offences of rape and one offence of sexual assault.

He was initially bailed to March 31 before his bail was extended to June 3 and again to September 3, 2021.

He has now been bailed for a fourth time until October 21.