Lucy Letby found guilty of attempting to murder baby following retrial

Convicted child murderer Lucy Letby has been found guilty of trying to kill another baby in the neonatal unit where she worked.

The Crown Prosecution Service prosecuted the former nurse at the Countess of Chester Hospital for the attempted murder of the child known as Baby K after a jury failed to reach a verdict on that offence last year.

In August 2023, a jury at Manchester Crown Court found Letby, 33, guilty of murdering seven very young babies and trying to murder six others following an eight-month trial. She was given a whole-life term in prison for the offences.

However, the jury could not reach a verdict on the attempted murder of Baby K – who was born at the Countess of Chester Hospital in Chester at just 25 weeks gestation on 17 February 2016.

Today at Manchester Crown Court, Letby was convicted of that offence following a four-week retrial.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Nicola Wyn Williams, of CPS Mersey-Cheshire’s Complex Casework Unit, said, “Lucy Letby has continually denied that she tried to kill this baby or any of the babies that she has been convicted of murdering or attempting to murder. The jury has heard all of the detailed evidence including from her in her own defence and formed its own view.

“Our case included direct evidence from a doctor who walked into the nursery to find a very premature baby  desaturating with Letby standing by, taking no action to help or to raise the alarm. She had deliberately dislodged the breathing tube in an attempt to kill her.

“Staff at the unit had to think the unthinkable – that one of their own was deliberately harming and killing babies in their care.

“Letby dislodged the tube a further two times over the following few hours in an attempt to cover her tracks and suggest that the first dislodgment was accidental. These were the actions of a cold-blooded, calculated killer.

“The grief that the family of Baby K have felt is unimaginable. Our thoughts remain with them and all those affected by this case at this time.”

Baby K

The baby’s mother was in labour and it was too late to send her to hospital with a Level 3 neonatal unit where a child of that prematurity would ideally be looked after.

Baby K was born at 2.12am. A tube was inserted to help with her breathing. Staff in the neonatal unit were aware of the delivery of such a premature baby and Letby, who was working on a night shift, was involved in a series of messages with a colleague about the event.

At some time shortly after 3.30am, the nurse allocated to look after Baby K left the unit to go and speak to the baby’s parents.  At the time she left, she was content that the baby’s condition was stable.  Letby was left to look after Baby K in the allocated nurse’s absence.

When the allocated nurse returned at about 3.47am, the baby was being treated by Consultant Dr Ravi Jayaram.

Dr Jayaram told the court that he had become increasingly concerned about Letby, following a spike in the number of baby deaths in the unit. When he realised that Letby was on her own with Baby K, he went into the nursery to reassure himself that everything was okay.

He found Letby next to the cot. The baby’s condition was rapidly deteriorating. Letby could see the baby was desaturating but was doing nothing to help her.  Neither had she raised an alarm or called for assistance. It was established that the baby’s breathing tube had been dislodged meaning she was not getting the support that she needed from the ventilator.

The baby’s condition deteriorated on two further occasions over the next few hours. On both occasions, the baby’s breathing tube had again been dislodged. Evidence was presented to show that Letby had again been present in Baby K’s nursery at both of these times, despite the fact she had other babies to look after in a different nursery.

Baby K was transferred to Arrowe Park hospital later that day. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of staff at the hospital, her condition did not improve. Baby K died in her parents’ arms on 20 February 2016.

The baby’s death could not be directly attributed to Letby’s actions so a count of attempted murder was pursued.

Lucy Letby will be sentenced on Friday, 5 July 2024, at Manchester Crown Court.

Image: Lucy Letby

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