Investigation into hundreds of deaths at hospital identifies suspects

Investigation into hundreds of deaths at hospital identifies suspects
Investigation into hundreds of deaths at hospital identifies suspects 17 May 2023 11:52 AM: Police have identified 19 suspects in the long-running investigation into hundreds of opioid deaths at a Hampshire hospital.

It is thought more than 450 people had their lives cut short at Gosport War Memorial Hospital by the drugs, with another 200 "probably" given similar opioids, between 1989 and 2000.

The opioids were given to patients without medical justification, according to the Gosport Independent Panel report released in 2018.

An independent police investigation was launched in April 2019.

The probe into the hospital, codenamed Operation Magenta, is being looked after by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, which is looking through the records of more than 750 patients.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Jerome said: "The independent investigation into deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital is one of the largest and most complex of its nature in the history of UK policing.

"Our team consists of around 150 serving and retired detectives who have so far assessed more than three million pages of documents, including the medical records of over 750 patients, and taken witness statements from more than 1,150 individual family members.

"The investigation is ongoing and continues to make good progress, with 19 suspects currently identified. The interviews under caution remain ongoing.

"Whilst we have never provided anyone with an estimate of how long our enquiries will last, family members can be confident we are working as quickly and thoroughly as possible to ensure Operation Magenta is the decisive police investigation into what happened at Gosport.


"Every single patient who died is important to us and their individual cases must be reviewed in full in order for an assessment to be made on their evidential strength.

"We also owe it to their families to investigate each death to the same high standard and, at the conclusion of the investigation, all families who want to will be told everything we discovered about the nature of their care.

"It is these families who are at the heart of everything we do. We remain committed to building and maintaining trust and confidence among them and will continue to keep them updated on the progress of the investigation."

Read more background to this story:
Staff interviewed under caution
Families want criminal charges brought

There have been calls for a Hillsborough-style inquest from some of the relatives of those who died at the hospital, who also want to see prosecutions.

The 2018 report said there was "a disregard for human life and a culture of shortening lives of a large number of patients" at the hospital, adding an "institutionalised regime of prescribing and administering 'dangerous doses' of a hazardous combination of medication not clinically indicated or justified".

The former bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, led the report, which did not ascribe criminal or civil liability for the deaths.

There has not yet been any justice or closure, according to the families, who say there have been repeated, ineffective investigations, adding they want to see a new judge and proceedings take place in front of a jury.

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