The police are looking into evidence heard at a tribunal to see if anyone should be arrested over the deaths of five residents at a Northampton nursing home.
The dementia patients all died at the now-closed Parkside House Nursing Home, in St Matthew’s Parade, in the summer of 2009.
A police investigation began in the aftermath but was aborted, seemingly because the county coroner, Anne Pember, had ruled the deaths were due to natural causes.
No criminal investigation – either into the deaths or the neglect – has taken place.
However, the judgements published by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), after striking off five Parkside nurses last month, appear to indicate that the neglect was particularly serious.
Although the threshold for criminal neglect is higher than that for a professional body such as the NMC, officers from Northamptonshire Police will now examine the tribunal documents to see if the neglect was serious enough for them to take further action.
A police spokeswoman said: “The force will be reviewing the findings of the Nursing and Midwifery Council to establish if any fresh evidence has come to light on which to base a criminal investigation.”
Marie Robinson, the daughter of 84-year-old Doreen Sheridan, one of those who was neglected and later died, said: “This development is absolutely brilliant news. I can’t understand why it wasn’t looked into four years ago.
“It is belated, but it might bring comfort to some of the families who have suffered because of the neglect at that home.”
The nurses who were struck off last month were home manager Phyllis Johnson, who now lives in Trinidad, and nurses Anastacia Madulu, Girlie Franklin, Maria McKenzie, and Mary Ombui.
The judgements of each nurse said the NMC believed all had “aggravated the poor physical condition that these residents were already in and contributed at least in part to their deaths”.
The NMC hearing found some of the deceased pensioners lived mainly on porridge and had pressure sores so deep their bones were exposed.
New revelations in the judgements included the fact that Franklin admitted she was last trained in the treatment of pressure sore care in the early 1970s and had not undertaken any training in the area since.
Franklin also said she failed to move one of the residents who was at risk of pressure sores because she feared that Mrs Johnson would be “annoyed”. She also persuaded Maduli not to alert authorities over the neglect.
One resident was denied a drink outside her mealtimes for a 24-hour period and later died from renal failure secondary to dehydration.
It was said some staff worked excessive hours and were “so fatigued they could not efficiently undertake their duties”.
On Sundays, McKenzie would work a full day shift at Parkside, a full night shift at St Crispin’s Hospital, have an hour’s break then do another day shift at Parkside on the Monday.