By Imran Khan • 09 March 2023 • 13:11
Police hunts for suspect after grandmother sexually assaulted at NHS hospital where she bled to death
A routine post-mortem conducted after the death of an elderly woman has revealed shocking details that suggest she had been raped at an NHS hospital before she bled to death.
Valerie Kneale, who was a grandmother, had been “violently sexually assaulted”, as per the Mirror, which resulted in her death.
This revelation into the cause of her death has been horrifying for the family of Kneale, who until the investigations thought that she had died after a stroke.
After the post-mortem details emerged, the police were immediately informed, as the pathologist who conducted the investigation said, “The attack was so bad she died from her injuries”.
A murder inquiry has been launched by the police, who stated their concerns, as they believe the suspect who is on the loose has “likely carried out attacks before and may well strike again”.
As per details from an inquest related to her death on November 16, 2018, “Valerie had suffered a horrific internal injury”, as the pathologist stated that “they felt it was caused by a forcible sexual assault after she was admitted to hospital”.
Crimestoppers have also announced a reward of £20,000 for anyone who has information about the suspect.
“To think that someone did that to a lovely person at a time when she was helpless, at her most vulnerable, where she couldn’t shout out, she couldn’t defend herself,” said Lisa Jaffier, the niece of Valerie during a BBC Crimewatch Live programme.
She added, “Her children wanted to stay with her that evening, but the hospital said she was in the best place, there is no need and she is going to be absolutely fine.
“Losing her left a huge gaping hole in the family, the week before she was fine then a week later she wasn’t with us any more”, Lisa continued.
Speaking about the attack Detective Chief Inspector Jill Johnston from Lancashire Police said that she was shocked after the evidence was provided by the pathologist.
“I couldn’t believe someone could be assaulted in this way, such a serious assault, whilst in hospital and I really was truly shocked”, said Johnston.
She added, “One of the hardest things in this investigation was telling Mrs Kneale’s family, that their mother and grandmother, who they thought had died of a stroke, had actual died as a result of a serious violent attack.”
The detective chief also stated that thousands of people have been interviewed for the case, including “people who were working in the hospital, visitors, patients to piece together a timeline, but four years later the attacker hasn’t been identified”.
“There’s a real worry to the investigation and to the hospital that this could be just one of a number of attacks”, she continued.
Johnston also stated that “We remain fully committed to finding Valerie’s killer. We know someone will have information key to our investigation. We know someone can help us find the person responsible.
“We believe the reward offer from the independent charity Crimestoppers will help provide that key piece of information to help unlock the case”, said Johnston, adding, “Her murder is truly tragic and heart-breaking, she was a patient in the hospital, receiving medical treatment when she was subjected to a horrific attack which ultimately led to her death”.
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