35-year minimum term for killer nurse Victorino Chua

    35-year minimum term for killer nurse Victorino Chua

    Image from BBC News/Press Association

    On 18 May 2015, Victorino Chua was convicted of two counts of murder, 22 counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm, one of causing grievous bodily harm, seven of attempting to administer a poison and one of administering a poison. He was acquitted of a third count of murder.

    What happened?

    Chua was a nurse at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport. He injected insulin into saline bags and ampoules which were then used by his colleagues on patients in the hospital, most of whom were elderly. Over a period of approximately eight months between June 2011 and January 2012, Chua poisoned patients on two wards in the hospital.

    The third murder charge (resulting in an acquittal) was in relation to 81-year-old Arnold Lancaster, who was left brain damaged after Chua had administered insulin to him. The jury convicted Chua of the poisoning offence as an alternative to murder.

    Part of the evidence in the case was a “confession” letter in which Chua said he was “an angel turned into an evil person” and that he had things he would “take to the grave”.

    In 2011, another nurse was arrested and charged in relation to the poisoning, spending six weeks on remand before being cleared.

    Following the conviction, the police said they had doubts as to Chua’s certification to practise as a nurse.


    The judge imposed a life sentence (as is mandatory) in respect of the two murder counts, with 35-year minimum terms.

    As we stated in our post following his conviction, the murder of two or more persons attracts the 30-year starting point (as specified in Sch.21 to the CJA 2003).

    We predicted a sentence of 37 years plus and so this is a little beneath what we were expecting; it may be that there is some personal mitigation which was not referred to in the news reports, or it may be that the judge has simply taken a different view of the facts. Until the sentencing remarks are published (and we expect they will be) we’ll just have to wait and see.

    Lyndon is the General Editor of Current Sentencing Practice and the Criminal Appeal Reports (Sentencing)


    1. As I also stated on Twitter, this case bears strong similarities to that of Beverley Allitt, the nurse who killed at least four children in exactly the same manner. According to Wikipedia, Allitt was sentenced to 13 life sentences with a minimum term of 30 years. So five years less than what this man got. I wonder why that’s the case. Could it be that the law has changed since 1993 when Allitt was sentenced? Or perhaps the courts are somehow a bit more “lenient” on women. It has certainly been very rare for women to be given long sentences and I think there have only ever been two or three who have got the whole life tariff.