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‘I’m innocent’ says Letby after further whole-life order for baby murder bid

Lucy Letby was convicted after a retrial of the attempted murder of a baby girl shortly after her premature birth (Elizabeth Cook/PA)
Lucy Letby was convicted after a retrial of the attempted murder of a baby girl shortly after her premature birth (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Child serial killer Lucy Letby said “I’m innocent” as she was led from court after being sentenced to an additional whole-life order for the attempted murder of a baby girl.

Earlier this week, the 34-year-old former nurse was found guilty at Manchester Crown Court of the attack on the newborn infant during a night shift in the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit in February 2016.

Last August, she was convicted at the same court by another jury of the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others, with two attempts on one child.

She is already serving 14 whole-life orders for each of those offences committed on the unit between June 2015 and June 2016.

Lucy Letby custody picture
Lucy Letby was convicted at a retrial of the attempted murder of a baby girl in her care (Cheshire Constabulary/PA)

On Friday, Mr Justice Goss imposed a 15th whole-life order on Letby and repeated to her that she will spend the rest of her in prison.

He then told dock officers to take her down and, as she was led away, she turned round and said: “I’m innocent.”

A retrial was ordered on a single allegation concerning the baby girl, known as Child K, after the first jury was unable to reach a verdict but a second jury took just three-and-a-half hours to convict Letby.

Letby, of Hereford, targeted the “very premature” baby after she was moved from the delivery room to the unit’s intensive care unit in the early hours of February 17.

About 90 minutes after the little girl’s birth, Letby dislodged the breathing tube through which she was being ventilated with air and oxygen.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram caught her “virtually red-handed” as he entered Nursery 1 at about 3.45am and he then went on to intervene and resuscitate Child K.

Dr Jayaram told jurors he saw “no evidence” that she had done anything to help the deteriorating baby as he walked in and saw her standing next to the infant’s incubator.

The Countess of Chester Hospital
The offences took place while Lucy Letby was working at the Countess of Chester Hospital (Jacob King/PA)

He said he heard no call for help from Letby or alarms sounding as Child K’s blood oxygen levels dropped.

From the witness box, Letby told the jury of six women and six men that she had no recollection of the event described by Dr Jayaram and did not accept it had taken place.

Child K was transferred, as planned, to a specialist hospital later on February 17 because of her extreme prematurity and died there three days later.

The judge said that despite Child K’s fragility, her condition at the Countess of Chester was “good” and she was stable on a ventilator before Letby targeted her in the knowledge that a transfer was due to take place.

He told Letby: “I repeat what I have said before, only you know the reason or reasons for your murderous campaign.

“It was another shocking act of calculated, callous cruelty.

“She (Child K) was exceptionally vulnerable and in a place where others were striving to provide her with dedicated medical and nursing care.

“You betrayed the trust of (Child K), her parents and all those working at the hospital. You caused her physical suffering and added psychological suffering to her family.

“During the course of this trial, as you did in the last trial, you have coldly denied any responsibility for any of your wrongdoing and sought to attribute fault to others. You have no remorse.”

Child K’s mother read a victim personal statement on behalf of herself and her husband from the witness box.

She said: “(Child K) is not here. Never will be. We will never have what would give us peace, closure, or a feeling of being a complete family unit.

“However, you Lucy Letby will never hurt another child or have the privilege and joy that children give.

“Our time and effort that you have absorbed over the years will stop today and our focus will remain on our beautiful children and building the most exciting and love-filled life that we possibly can.”

Letby was tearful at times as Child K’s mother outlined the impact on the couple’s life.

Ben Myers KC, defending, said: “We recognise and acknowledge the sympathy for (Child K’s) family and the grave view taken of this conviction.

“Miss Letby’s position remains she is not guilty of any offence.”

Mr Justice Goss ordered that five other counts of attempted murder – involving four children – to lie on file after the first jury could not reach verdicts on those counts.

Following sentence, Senior Crown Prosecutor Nicola Wyn Williams, of the Crown Prosecution Service Mersey Cheshire, said: “The savagery of her actions has been difficult for the prosecution team to comprehend and has devastated the lives of the families of these babies.

“We still have no idea why she committed these crimes but the Crown Prosecution Service does not have to prove a motive. We simply need to prove that the defendant committed the crime.”

In May, Letby lost her Court of Appeal bid to challenge her convictions from last year.

A court order prohibits reporting of the identities of the surviving and dead children involved in the case.