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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 20:35 GMT 21:35 UK
Frenzied murder of hospital nurse
Cheryl Moss
Cheryl Moss was found stabbed by her colleagues
Police have launched a murder inquiry after a nurse was stabbed to death in a park behind a hospital.

Cheryl Moss, 33, from Dagenham in east London, was stabbed in what police have described as a frenzied attack near St George's in Hornchurch, Essex.

Police say she was on a cigarette break on Thursday morning when she was attacked. Officers do not think it was a patient who carried out the killing.

Officers said they are keeping an open mind about the murderer's motive.

The married nurse had worked at St George's for 10 years, police added. Her family were said to be distraught.

CCTV footage

Mrs Moss was stabbed repeatedly as she wandered in an area at the rear of the hospital site, which opens at the back via a gate to Hornchurch Country Park.

She was found collapsed by her colleagues just after 1100 BST and they immediately called for an ambulance.

Paramedics tried to save her life but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have also appealed to dog walkers who were in the area and a number of visitors who have been at the hospital throughout the day to come forward.

Scene of crimes officers outside the hospital
Police are examining the scene where Cheryl Moss was stabbed

They are also scouring CCTV footage for clues and have interviewed staff on duty at the time.

Det Supt Dick Langley said: "She was apparently having her break from work and had gone out for fresh air and has been attacked by an unknown person and has been stabbed to death.

"There are a number of stab wounds on her body. It would appear at this stage that it was a frenzied attack on her body."

St George's is run by Havering Primary Care Trust and provides general hospital care for all ages.

Shocking and tragic

Ralph McCormack, chief executive of the trust, said: "Our thoughts tonight are with Cheryl's family.

"This is a terrible incident to occur, they must be deeply shocked, as we are about it."

He added that Mrs Moss had worked for the Trust and its predecessor organisation for nearly 17 years and that extra security staff have been brought in to reassure employees and security would be reviewed.

One nursing union said health workers faced "unacceptable" levels of violence and called for a public inquiry into the death.

Janet Davies, director of service delivery at the Royal College of Nursing, said: "This is a shocking and tragic event and the RCN would like to express its deepest sympathy for the family of the nurse.

"We are currently seeking more information about the incident. However, needless to say, healthcare staff should not have to go to work fearing for their lives and personal safety."

An NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service spokesperson said: "When the full facts of the case are available the NHS Security Management Service can assess any possible security implications of this case for the NHS."

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