U.K. Nurse Lucy Letby Convicted of Attempted Murder in Retrial


Lucy Letby, a neonatal nurse who was convicted last year of murdering seven babies and attempting to kill six others at the English hospital where she worked, was found guilty on Tuesday of the attempted murder of another premature baby.

A jury had initially failed to reach a verdict in the case of the child, known as Baby K to protect her identity, and Ms. Letby was retried over the last four weeks in a court in Manchester in the north of England. She will be sentenced on Friday and is already serving life in prison for the earlier convictions. The yearslong case against Ms. Letby has haunted the country since suspicions around the deaths of a number of newborn babies first came to light in 2016.

The local police said they are still reviewing a period of time from 2012 to 2016 when Ms. Letby was working at the Countess of Chester Hospital in the city of Chester, in northwestern England.

Ms. Letby lost an attempt in an appeals court in May of this year to challenge her convictions, and a public inquiry into her crimes will begin in September. Earlier this year, The New Yorker magazine raised questions about the evidence the court relied upon.

Ms. Letby, 34, was working at the Chester hospital when, between June 2015 and June 2016, an unexpectedly high number of babies in the neonatal unit where she worked died or became seriously unwell.

During the recent four-week-long trial, the jury heard that Baby K was born in the early hours of Feb. 17, 2016, several weeks premature, before being transferred to the neonatal unit where Ms. Letby worked.

The prosecution argued that a short time later, after another nurse had left the baby’s side, Ms. Letby had dislodged Baby K’s breathing tube. Dr. Ravi Jayaram, a senior doctor who worked on the unit, testified that he saw Ms. Letby standing over the baby’s incubator as the child’s blood oxygen levels dropped, but no alarm was sounding and Ms. Letby was doing nothing.

Ms. Letby’s defense team had argued that there was no evidence that she had inflicted any harm on the baby, and they maintained that she had been waiting for the baby to self-correct at the time. Ms. Letby, who testified in her own defense during the trial, said she had no intention of harming the baby and had no recollection of the events described by the doctor.

The baby was transferred to a specialty hospital later that same day because she was extremely premature, and she died there three days later. Her cause of death was determined to be extreme prematurity and severe respiratory distress syndrome.

Nicola Wyn Williams, a senior crown prosecutor, said that while Ms. Letby had “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 had “formed its own view.”

“Staff at the unit had to think the unthinkable — that one of their own was deliberately harming and killing babies in their care,” Ms. Williams said, describing the evidence given in court.

Speaking after the verdict came down, Nicola Evans, detective chief inspector of the Cheshire Constabulary, which oversaw the investigation into Ms. Letby, said it had been a “long and painful journey for the parents of Baby K.”

“Their courage, strength and resilience is absolutely remarkable,” she said. “Once again, there are no winners in this case. Today is not a time for celebration — it is a time for reflection and a time for the family of Baby K.”



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