Son accused of murdering father in Durham hospital
Jun 17 2009 by Sophie Doughty, The Journal
A SON has been accused of murdering his father in a North East hospital.
Grandfather, Ralph Stephenson, died at the University Hospital of North Durham, on Thursday night, three weeks after he was admitted, suffering from various medical problems, including Parkinson's disease and pneumonia.
But staff at the hospital became suspicious about the 86-year-old’s death and contacted police.
And a post-mortem examination revealed that he had suffered what detectives described as “significant injuries”.
A murder investigation was launched at the weekend, and detectives from Durham Police arrested his 45-year-old son, also called Ralph Stephenson at his home on Tyne Road East in Stanley, County Durham, on Monday morning.
The father-of-two, who is an only child, was charged with murder yesterday.
A spokesman for Durham Police said: “A County Durham man being questioned in connection with the death of an elderly hospital patient has now been charged with his murder.
“Over the weekend detectives have been conducting an investigation at the University Hospital of North Durham into the death of 86-year-old Ralph Stephenson. He was admitted on Thursday, May 21 from a nursing home in Stanley, suffering from a number of medical problems including Parkinson's disease and pneumonia. He died on Thursday evening last week.
“Staff at the hospital raised concerns with their managers concerning Mr Stephenson's death which led to the police being informed. A post-mortem was subsequently conducted by Home Office pathologist Dr Stuart Hamilton which resulted in the death being treated as suspicious.”