Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 15:49 UK

Care home duo probed on 12 deaths

Leigh and Rachel Baker
Leigh and Rachel Baker were both arrested after Mrs Cox's death

A couple arrested on suspicion of murdering five residents of a care home in Somerset are to be questioned over seven more deaths.

Nurse Rachel Baker, 46, and her husband Leigh, 50, were originally questioned in 2007 over the deaths of four women and a man at Parkfields Home, Butleigh.

Avon and Somerset Police confirmed the couple are now being investigated in connection with 12 "suspicious" deaths.

The couple had managed the care home for more than a decade.

'Deaths linked'

A police spokeswoman refused to give any further details - including names, ages and gender - for the seven additional "suspicious" deaths.

But she confirmed the deaths were all linked to the care home.

On Monday, police confirmed that Mr and Mrs Bakers' bail period had been extended until January 2009 while investigations continue.

The couple were initially interviewed following the death of 97-year-old Lucy Cox on New Year's Day 2007.

During the investigation, detectives decided to exhume the remains of three other former residents.

Mr and Mrs Baker, who live in Glastonbury with their six-year-old daughter, are also suspected of theft, unlawful possession of controlled prescribed drugs and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Mrs Baker was originally arrested on 5 January 2007 on suspicion of administering a noxious substance, four days after the death of Mrs Cox. Mr Baker, a chef, was arrested two days later.

The couple were bailed as detailed toxicology tests took place.

'Toxicology tests'

Then in December 2007, the Bakers were arrested again, this time on suspicion of murdering Mrs Cox, along with Nellie Pickford, 89, Marion Alder, 79, and Fred Green, 81.

A fifth "suspicious" death remained unidentified by police.

The private home - which housed up to 20 elderly residents in flats and bungalows - was owned by Mr Baker's parents, June and Malcolm, but had been managed by Rachel Baker since 1988.

The home's remaining residents have been rehoused by Somerset County Council.

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