Who is Lucy Letby and what did she do? Full details ahead of killer nurse's retrial hearing for six more murder attempts

25 September 2023, 08:46 | Updated: 25 September 2023, 15:09

Lucy Letby is facing a retrial hearing
Lucy Letby is facing a retrial hearing. Picture: Police

By Kit Heren

Lucy Letby is facing a retrial on Monday after being found guilty of murdering seven babies and trying to kill six more last month.

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Letby, a former neo-natal nurse was found guilty of the charges at Manchester Crown Court in August, and will spend the rest of her life behind bars.

The hearing on Monday will decide whether prosecutors will pursue a retrial against Letby for six outstanding counts of attempted murder.

The original jurors in Letby's case could not decide on a verdict either way on these charges.

Read more: Doctors who raised concerns over Lucy Letby were ordered to apologise – as probe launched into handling of the case

Read more: Who is Lucy Letby? How the 'kind and geeky girl' became the UK's most prolific child killer

Lucy Letby has been convicted.
Lucy Letby has been convicted. Picture: Alamy

What did Lucy Letby do?

Lucy Letby is already Britain's most prolific child killer in modern history after injecting her victims with air or poisoning them with insulin.

She was found guilty on August 18, after a nine-month trial, of murdering seven babies and trying to murder six more during her time as a nurse dealing with premature babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and 2016.

Letby has been described as a "calculated opportunist" who used the vulnerabilities of premature and sick infants to camouflage her acts.
Letby has been described as a "calculated opportunist" who used the vulnerabilities of premature and sick infants to camouflage her acts. Picture: Social media

Why is Lucy Letby facing a retrial?

The jury in Lucy Letby's trial at Manchester Crown Court did not reach verdicts on six counts of attempted murder in relation to five children.

Jurors could not agree on whether Letby attempted to murder three baby girls, known in court documents as Child H, Child J and Child K.

They also could not reach verdicts on two counts of attempted murder against Child N, a baby boy, and one on Child Q.

She has already been found guilty of one count of attempted murder against Child N.

Letby has denied all the charges and has filed a bid to appeal.

Read more: Lucy Letby timeline: How baby murdering nurse went on killing spree for a year before being caught

Letby led from her home in handcuffs after being arrested
Letby led from her home in handcuffs after being arrested. Picture: Cheshire Police

Who are Letby's victims?

Child A died on June 8, 2015. Letby pumped air into his circulation via a tube in his stomach.

Child C, who had also been born prematurely, died after suffering cardiac arrest on June 14. Letby injected air into his stomach via a nose tube which left him unable to breathe.

Child D died on the morning of June 22. The child, believed to be born with an infection, recovered and was doing well but later collapsed after having air pumped into his bloodstream.

Child E died on August 4 after enduring a huge amount of blood loss, during which Letby is accused of making false nursing notes. Letby attacked the baby, injecting them with air into their bloodstream - and told the baby’s mother to leave.

Child I died on October 23 2015 after enduring four murder attempts. Letby injected air into their stomach via a tube in the days leading up to their death.

Letby murdered Child O, a triplet, on June 23, 2016, by injecting air into his bloodstream.

Child P collapsed and died on June 24, with experts saying it was most likely a result of injected air affecting his breathing.

Letby in court. Picture: Alamy

When did Lucy Letby start working at the Countess of Chester Hospital?

When Lucy Letby left school she began studying at the University of Chester, a two-hour drive to the north of her home town of Hereford.

Letby began work as a children's nurse at the Countess of Chester Hospital in 2011, when she graduated from university.

She also did a training placement at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

Letby had a clean record with the Nursing and Midwifery Council during her time at the hospital.

How did the investigation into Lucy Letby begin?

The Countess of Chester hospital began to see an unusually high number of baby deaths in 2015 - 10% higher than would normally be expected, it later turned out.

In 2016, the hospital stopped accepting children born before 32 weeks of pregnancy, in part because of the high baby mortality rate.

An independent review carried out by the Royal College of Paediatrics could not find any "single cause or factor... to explain the increase".

The hospital called in Cheshire Police to investigate in 2017, saying in a statement that this was to "seek assurances that enable us to rule out unnatural causes of death."

Shockingly, doctors who originally raised concerns about Letby in June 2015 were told by hospital bosses to apologise to her.

Dr Ravi Jayaram, who is a senior paediatrician at the Countess of Chester Hospital, said he was told to "draw a line" under his concerns and apologise to the 33-year-old in a meeting.

Letby was moved to clerical duties after two triplet boys died under her care and another baby boy collapsed on three successive days in June 2016.

Sangita Myska on the missed opportunities to catch Lucy Letby

When was Lucy Letby first arrested?

Lucy Letby was arrested on July 3 2018, a year into the police's investigation.

Police searched her three-bedroom semi-detached house, just over a mile away from the hospital.They also visited her parents' home in Hereford.

Police also included Liverpool Women's Hospital, where Letby had done a training placement, in their investigation. Bosses at the second hospital said they were cooperating with the police.

She was arrested again in 2019, and a third time in November 2020, when she was denied bail.

The moment Lucy Letby was arrested over baby deaths

Is the government doing anything about the Lucy Letby case?

The Department of Health has previously said that an independent inquiry will be held into Letby's case, and will examine "the circumstances surrounding the deaths and incidents - including how concerns raised by clinicians were dealt with".