News in 5: Nurse arrested over baby murders; Coroner joins Tyrrell search; Coffee perks.

british nurse murdered babies

– With AAP

1. Nurse’s home searched by police investigating the murders of eight babies at a hospital.


A British healthcare worker has been arrested in relation to the murder of eight infants and attempted murder of another six at a hospital England’s north.

According to The Sun, police have searched the home of 28-year-old nurse Lucy Letby following an investigation into deaths at the neonatal unit of Countess of Chester Hospital in Cheshire.

Police were asked to launch the probe in May 2017, following a “greater number of baby deaths and collapses than normally expected” at the hospital between June 2015 and June 2016.

Detective Inspector Paul Hughes told British media the investigation initially focused on the deaths of 15 babies and six non-fatal collapses.

“Since the start of our enquiries and, as the information gathering process has continued, the scope of the investigation has now widened,” he said, according to The Telegraph.

“We are now currently investigating the deaths of 17 babies and 15 non-fatal collapses between the period of March 2015 and July 2016.”

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According to the The Telegraph, Det Insp Hughes stated that the parents of the babies involved in the investigation are being kept fully updated and are being supported by specialist officers.

“This is an extremely difficult time and it is important to remember that there are bereaved families seeking answers as to what happened to their children,” he said.

2. A NSW coroner has joined police in their search for missing toddler William Tyrrell.

Image: AAP.

A NSW coroner has joined police as they continue to search bushland on the mid north coast for signs of missing toddler William Tyrrell.

Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame spent a few hours on Tuesday touring the street in Kendall where the then three-year-old disappeared in 2014, and the surrounding area at the centre of a month-long forensic search.

The search is designed to rule out William dying in a case of misadventure in bush near his grandmother's home.

It's understood no clear sign of William has been found so far and, if nothing is discovered in the final week of searching, investigators will be able to confidently conclude the boy was abducted.

Ms Grahame's presence at the search is understood to be a result of the high-profile nature of the Tyrrell case, not because it has been referred to the coroner for an inquest.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Jubelin, the homicide investigator overseeing the 50-strong specialist search party, is open minded about handing the case to the coroner in the future.

"I want to stress we have numerous lines of inquiry including persons of interest that we are going to fully exhaust before the matter goes to a coroner," he said at the start of the search in June.

"Until we know conclusively that William is not alive, we'll treat it with the possibility that he still is alive."

3. Woman paid $2000 more in premiums than her policy was worth, banking commission hears.

An indigenous woman has emotionally criticised an insurer during the banking royal commission, saying it misled her when it signed her up to a costly funeral policy that targeted Aboriginal people.

Tracey Walsh signed up to a policy with the Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund in 2005 at the age of 40 with a maximum benefit of $8000.

She paid more than $36 a fortnight for more than a decade equating to more than $10,000 in premiums.

She became worried her funeral insurance was not adequate when her own parents died and tried to lift her cover, but ACBF would not do it.

She then engaged the Consumer Action Legal Centre and discovered the ACBF was not an Aboriginal organisation.

Ms Walsh said her country Victorian Yorta Yorta community believed the company was indigenous and represented her people, containing images of the rainbow serpent and Aboriginal families and art on its materials.

She also believed the product was a savings plan, in which her money was put away for a funeral and was horrified to discover she would lose her benefits if she missed any payments.

"I felt like they had me over a barrel," she told the commission in Darwin.

A complaint and claim was lodged with the Financial Ombudsman, which ACBF's lawyers initially resisted and described as "vexatious and an abuse of process".

However the insurer settled, increasing Ms Walsh's cover to $10,000 and allowing her to stop making payments, having handed over more than $10,000 already.

Ms Walsh said through tears she was angry while looking at ACBF chief executive Bryn Jones.

"I've got elders that have been in these funeral funds for years and they plan to give the money to their families so they can survive," she said.

ACBF has a reputation for aggressively selling to Aboriginal people, including children, for whom the funeral and rituals associated with death are a major cultural and community event.

4. A woman has woken up inside a morgue fridge.

A woman is being treated in a South African hospital after being found alive inside a morgue fridge in the province of Gauteng.

The unnamed road accident victim had been transferred to the mortuary in Carletonville after being declared dead by ambulance paramedics.

An unnamed source from the morgue told NewsLive that his colleagues were filling out paperwork after loading bodies into the fridges when one returned to check on them: “When he pulled out the woman’s body‚ he saw that she was breathing.”

Distress Alert operations manager Gerrit Bradnick told the outlet that the paramedics involved had followed protocol.

“Equipment used to determine life showed no form of life on the woman,” he said.

“This did not happen because our paramedics are not properly trained. There is no proof of any negligence by our crew."

An investigation has been launched by the Gauteng health department.

5. Rejoice! A study has shown coffee might just make you live longer.

Caffeine anxiety
Image: Unsplash.

Go ahead and have that cup of coffee because new research shows it may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily.

In a study of nearly half-a-million British adults, coffee drinkers had a slightly lower risk of death over 10 years than abstainers.

The apparent longevity boost was seen with instant, ground and decaffeinated, results that echo US research.

Overall, coffee drinkers were about 10 per cent to 15 per cent less likely to die than abstainers during a decade of follow-up.

The results don't prove your coffee pot is a fountain of youth nor are they a reason for abstainers to start drinking coffee, said Alice Lichtenstein, a Tufts University nutrition expert who was not involved in the research.

But she said the results reinforce previous research and add additional reassurance for coffee drinkers.

"It's hard to believe that something we enjoy so much could be good for us. Or at least not be bad," Lichtenstein said.

The study was published on Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

It's not clear exactly how drinking coffee might affect longevity.

Lead author Erikka Loftfield, a researcher at the US National Cancer Institute, said coffee contains more than 1000 chemical compounds including antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage.

Other studies have suggested that substances in coffee may reduce inflammation and improve how the body uses insulin, which can reduce chances for developing diabetes.

For the study, researchers invited 9 million British adults to take part; 498,134 women and men aged 40 to 69 agreed. The low participation rate means those involved may have been healthier than the general UK population, the researchers said.

Coffee drinkers in the UK study didn't have higher risks than non-drinkers of dying from heart disease and other blood pressure-related causes.

As in previous studies, coffee drinkers were more likely than abstainers to drink alcohol and smoke, but the researchers took those factors into account, and coffee drinking seemed to cancel them out.

6. A sick refugee girl will be flown to Australia from Papua New Guinea.

A refugee toddler with swelling of the brain will be rushed to Australia from Papua New Guinea for tests and treatment after lawyers took court action on her behalf.

Maurice Blackburn made a successful Federal Court application on Tuesday for the two-year-old girl to be flown to mainland Australia with her parents for MRI scans and other tests.

The firm's head of social justice Jennifer Kanis welcomed the outcome but said she should've been taken to Australia straight from Nauru in the first place.

"The government has since the middle of June known the child has needed to come to Australia to receive urgent care," she told AAP.

"Instead they chose to take her to Papua New Guinea, where she received ... sub-standard treatment to what she would've received here.

"She should never have been put in this situation. She should've been brought here as soon as the doctors on Nauru recommended."

Ms Kanis said the toddler, who was born on Nauru, is suffering from encephalitis, a swelling of the brain caused by a virus.

Her condition is stable but she needs MRI and EEG scans to give her the best future health prospects.

Lawyers asked for the girl's mother, who is with the child in hospital in PNG, and her father, who is on Nauru, to be evacuated to Australia as well.

The Minister for Home Affairs' barrister Andrew Yuile acknowledged the girl needed treatment but argued against the urgent need for the father to accompany her.

Justice Bernard Murphy ordered the girl and her mother be taken to Australia within 48 hours and the father join them as soon as practical.

The government has promised to allow the family to remain in Australia while the toddler's health issues are ongoing.

 

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