Update statement regarding the ongoing investigation into a number of baby deaths and non-fatal collapses at the neonatal unit at The Countess of Chester Hospital.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Hughes, who is in charge of the investigation, said:
“It has been more than three years since we first launched an investigation into a number of baby deaths and non-fatal collapses at the neonatal unit at The Countess of Chester Hospital.
“In that time a dedicated team of detectives have been working extremely hard on this highly complex and very sensitive case doing everything they can as quickly as they can to identify what has led to these baby deaths and collapses.
“In July 2018, a healthcare professional was arrested on suspicion of murder in relation to the deaths of 8 babies and the attempted murder of 6 babies at the neonatal unit at The Countess of Chester Hospital. She was subsequently bailed pending further enquiries.
“In June 2019, the healthcare professional was re-arrested on suspicion of murder in relation to the deaths of 8 babies and the attempted murder of 6 babies. She was also arrested in connection with the attempted murder of 3 additional babies.
“Today (Tuesday 10 November), as part of our ongoing enquiries, the healthcare professional has been re-arrested on suspicion of murder in relation to the deaths of 8 babies and the attempted murder of 9 babies.
“The woman is currently in custody helping officers with their enquiries.
“Parents of all the babies have been kept fully updated on this latest development and they are continuing to be supported throughout the process by specially trained officers.
“This is an extremely difficult time for all the families and it is important to remember that, at the heart of this, there are a number of bereaved families seeking answers as to what happened to their children.
“Due to the nature of this investigation it is extremely challenging but it is important to remember that, despite the passage of time, it is very much active and ongoing. “There are no set timescales and we remain committed to carrying out a thorough investigation.
“We fully appreciate that it continues to have a big impact on all those involved – including the families of the babies, staff and patients at the hospital as well as members of the public.
“For that reason, I would urge people to avoid any commentary or speculation online or otherwise regarding the investigation itself or the identity of anyone involved as this is unhelpful and it could cause distress to the parents of the babies. It could also impact on the ongoing criminal case moving forward.
“At this stage, I am unable to go into any further details about the investigation but as soon as I can provide any further updates I will do.”
If you have any information that you want to pass onto the investigation team you are encouraged to get in touch via the Operation Hummingbird mailbox at email@example.com
Information can also be passed on by calling Cheshire Constabulary on 101 or anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.”