Tuesday, September 26, 2023 – Serial killer nurse Lucy Letby will face a retrial over one count of attempted murder of a newborn baby girl.
Last month Letby, 33, was sentenced to a whole life order after jurors convicted her of the murders of seven premature babies and the attempted murders of six others at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit in 2015 and 2016.
She was cleared of a further two attempted murder charges and the jury failed to reach a verdict on another six, relating to five babies.
Nick Johnson KC, for the prosecution, told Manchester Crown Court that a decision had been made to pursue a retrial in the case of Baby K, a girl born in February 2016.
The child’s parents were in court to hear the announcement. Letby attended the hour-long hearing via video link while her parents were absent.
The prosecution is not pursuing a retrial on the five other charges of attempted murder, relating to four babies – two girls, Baby H and Baby J, and two boys, Baby N and Baby Q.
Letby, of Hereford, refused to come up from the cells when Mr Justice Goss sentenced her to 14 whole life terms following her convictions on August 21. She has applied for leave to appeal her convictions.
Today she appeared via a video-link from HMP New Hall, in Wakefield, and spoke only to confirm her name.
At a hearing at Manchester Crown Court, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced they would now seek a new trial over one of the charges a verdict wasn’t reached on, with the trial date provisionally set for next year.
‘These decisions on whether to seek retrials on the remaining counts of attempted murder were extremely complex and difficult,’ said Jonathan Storer, a chief crown prosecutor.
‘Before reaching our conclusions we listened carefully to the views of the families affected, police and prosecution counsel.’
Letby, who was dressed in a blue jumper and sat at a desk, gave no reaction as the announcement of the retrial was made.
Mr Justice Goss said: ‘As matters stand the prosecution only seek a retrial on count 14, the attempted murder of Baby K.’
He said the first available date for the retrial at Manchester Crown Court, estimated to last up to three weeks, was June 10 next year.
Solicitors representing families of seven of the babies in the case today said they were ‘disappointed’ that the CPS had decided not to pursue retrials on all the charges that the jury failed to reach verdicts on.
Tamlin Bolton, a lawyer with Switalskis, said: ‘We are disappointed with the CPS decision. We believe that the families of the further alleged victims still have questions that are unanswered, and they deserve to know what happened to their children.
‘Those families will need to pursue other channels to get the answers, through both a civil case against the Trust, and to be included as part of the Inquiry.’
Jonathan Storer, chief crown prosecutor with Mersey Cheshire CPS, said they had consulted with the families before deciding on which charges to pursue.
‘These decisions on whether to seek retrials on the remaining counts of attempted murder were extremely complex and difficult,’ he said.
‘Before reaching our conclusions we listened carefully to the views of the families affected, police and prosecution counsel.
He added: ‘Many competing factors were considered including the evidence heard by the court during the long trial and its impact on our legal test for proceeding with a prosecution.
‘We have met with all the families affected by these decisions to explain how they were reached.’