Stepping Hill deaths: Nurse Victorino Chua appears in court

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Media captionVictorino Chua was remanded in custody by magistrates in Manchester

A nurse has appeared in court charged with murdering three patients at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport in 2011.

Victorino Chua, 48, of Churchill Street, Heaton Norris, is also charged with 31 other offences including GBH and attempted poisoning.

He is accused of murdering patients Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, and Alfred Derek Weaver, 83.

At Manchester Magistrates' Court, he confirmed his name, age and address.

Mr Chua was remanded in custody to appear at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday.

He faces one count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, 22 counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, seven counts of attempting to administer poison and one count of causing poison to be administered with intent.

'Public support'

Investigators have been examining the contamination of saline ampoules and bags between 1 June and 15 July 2011 at the hospital.

Mr Chua, who is originally from the Philippines, was first arrested in January 2012 and was later released on bail. He was re-arrested on Friday.

In a statement, Ann Barnes, chief executive of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We are very much aware that at the centre of this complex and lengthy police investigation are the patients and their families affected by these events.

"Our thoughts have been with them throughout this time.

"We have always benefited from outstanding public support and confidence in our services and are pleased that this has never wavered."

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