Stroke patient died after being sexually assaulted in hospital bed

Stroke patient died after being sexually assaulted in hospital bed
Stroke patient Valerie Kneale died due to an ‘internal and external haemorrhage which was in turn due to a vaginal laceration or tear’

An inquest has been launched into the death of a stroke patient thought to have been sexually assaulted in hospital, but has been adjourned for five months.

Valerie Kneale, 75, died on 16 November 2018 at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Ms Kneale died four days after suffering a stroke and breaking her leg after falling from a chair. 

However, a post mortem found that Ms Kneale died “due to an internal and external haemorrhage which was in turn due to a vaginal laceration or tear,” Alan Wilson, coroner for Blackpool and Fylde said. 

The pathologists’ report believed her death was caused by a sexual assault after she was admitted to hospital.

Following a murder inquiry into Ms Kneale’s death, further allegations of serious sexual assault against two patients and the sexual assault of a healthcare professional working on the stroke unit were reported.

A male hospital worker was arrested on suspicion of murder, two offences of rape and one of sexual assault. He was released on bail until 3 June.

Mr Wilson adjourned the hearing for five months while police continue their investigations into what happened.

“It is clearly necessary for this court to further adjourn the investigation into Mrs Kneale’s death in order to allow the police to continue with their investigations,” he said. “We ought not to hold an inquest while the police are actively pursuing their own investigation.”

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