A NURSE from Hereford has appeared in court today charged with the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of 10 more at a hospital neonatal unit.
Lucy Letby of Arran Avenue, Hereford, was re-arrested this week after three years of investigation into the deaths by Cheshire Constabulary.
Here is what we know so far:
Letby, who grew up in Hereford, qualifies as a children’s nurse after three years of training at the University of Chester and starts working at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit. In a 2013 interview with the Chester and District Standard, Letby said she cared for babies requiring various levels of support.
A report published in July 2016 by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health found significant gaps in medical and nursing rotas and insufficient staffing for the provision of longer-term, high-dependency and some intensive care.
The report said paediatric consultants had been concerned since June 2015 about a higher than usual number of deaths on the ward, several of which were “unexplained” or “unexpected”.
The Countess of Chester Hospital carried out a number of independent expert medical reviews into the deaths before calling in police.
Detectives from Cheshire Constabulary launched an investigation into infant deaths at the hospital in May 2017, initially looking at the deaths of 15 babies between June 2015 and June 2016.
On July 3 2018 police said the probe had widened to include 17 deaths and 15 non-fatal collapses of babies between March 2015 and July 2016.
Detective Inspector Paul Hughes said the arrest was a “significant step forward” in what was a “highly complex and very sensitive investigation”.
He added that the probe was “very much active and ongoing” and that parents of all the babies were being updated on the inquiry and supported by trained officers.
At 6am, police arrived to search the Cheshire home of nurse Lucy Letby, then 28, who was arrested on suspicion of the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of six others.
A blue tent was erected in front of her home in Westbourne Road, Blacon, and officers were also later seen at her parents’ property in Hereford.
Police said Letby’s arrest came as part of a long-running investigation by Cheshire Constabulary following a high number of baby deaths at the hospital’s neonatal unit. She was later released on bail.
Letby is re-arrested on June 10 on suspicion of the murders of eight babies and the attempted murder of six babies at a hospital neo-natal unit after further evidence was gathered by Cheshire Police.
She was also arrested in connection with the attempted murder of three more babies.
Detective Inspector Paul Hughes said the investigation was “extremely challenging” and that parents of all the babies were being kept fully updated.
He said: “Cheshire Constabulary launched its investigation two years ago. Since then a dedicated team of detectives have been working on this highly complex and very sensitive case.
“I would like to reassure people that we are doing everything we can as quickly as we can to identify what has led to these baby deaths and collapses.”
November 10 2020
Letby, now 30, is again re-arrested and taken into custody.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Hughes, of Cheshire Police, said: “Today, as part of our ongoing inquiries, the healthcare professional has been re-arrested on suspicion of murder in relation to the deaths of eight babies and the attempted murder of nine babies.
“The woman is currently in custody helping officers with their inquiries.”
Police said parents of all the babies involved were being kept fully updated on developments and were supported by officers.
November 11 2020
Police announce Letby has been charged with eight counts of murder and 10 of attempted murder following the investigation into baby deaths at the Countess of Chester Hospital neonatal unit.
A force spokesman said: “The Crown Prosecution Service has authorised Cheshire Police to charge a healthcare professional with murder in connection with an ongoing investigation into a number of baby deaths at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
“Lucy Letby, of Arran Avenue, Hereford, is facing eight charges of murder and 10 charges of attempted murder.
“The charges relate to the period of June 2015 to June 2016.”
November 12 2020
Letby has appeared at Warrington Magistrates Court this morning.
She has been remanded in custody after appearing via videolink at Warrington Magistrates’ Court charged with the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of 10 others. She will appear at Chester Crown Court for a further hearing on Friday.
Read the full story here: Hereford nurse in court charged with murdering eight babies