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Lucy Letby to face retrial on attempted murder charge

Convicted child murderer Lucy Letby will face retrial over the alleged attempted murder of one baby, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has confirmed.

Letby will return to court in 2024 to stand trial for the charge, on which her previous jury could not reach a verdict.

“We believe that the families of the further alleged victims still have questions that are unanswered”

Tamlin Bolton

Letby, 33, was convicted in August of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others in 2015 and 2016 while she worked at Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as a neonatal nurse.

The jury failed to reach a verdict for a further six charges of attempted murder for which Letby stood trial at Manchester Crown Court.

The CPS said earlier this month that a court hearing was scheduled for today (25 September) to decide if these would be pursued by retrial.

Of the six charges, five will not be taken forward at this time; Letby will stand trial for the attempted murder of one baby early next year.

This comes after Letby’s legal team announced she is seeking to appeal the murder convictions, for which she received multiple whole-life prison sentences.

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Jonathan Storer, chief crown prosecutor for CPS Mersey-Cheshire, said his organisation had met with the families affected to explain how the decision to retrial on only one charge had been made.

He said: “These decisions on whether to seek retrials on the remaining counts of attempted murder were extremely complex and difficult.

“Before reaching our conclusions we listened carefully to the views of the families affected, police and prosecution counsel.

“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.”

Tamlin Bolton, senior associate solicitor at Switalskis Solicitors, which is representing the families involved with the case, said she was “disappointed” with CPS’s decision not to retry Letby on more charges.

“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,” said Ms Bolton.

“Today the CPS have decided that they will only seek only one retrial concerning an allegedly murdered baby.

“We note that charges will lie on file with the CPS and could be reinstated at a later date should new evidence come to light.”

“These decisions on whether to seek retrials on the remaining counts of attempted murder were extremely complex and difficult”

Jonathan Storer

Ms Bolton explained that the families were seeking to pursue a civil case against the Countess of Chester trust, and that they would look to the public inquiry – set up to investigate the events leading to Letby’s murders – for answers.

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A Countess of Chester spokesperson said it would not be appropriate to comment further on this update to the case.

The single charge Letby will face a retrial for is the attempted murder of a child, referred to as Baby K during her first trial, which is alleged to have happened in February 2016, the BBC reports.

Shortly after Letby’s conviction, a statutory inquiry into the case was announced. It will investigate how concerns raised about the neonatal nurse were handled by Countess of Chester management, among other issues.

Meanwhile, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is also continuing Letby’s fitness-to-practise case, with the intention of striking her off the register.

Her case was paused by the NMC while the criminal trial took place; she was suspended from practising in the meantime.

An NMC spokesperson confirmed that the retrial would not change the regulatory action being taken against Letby.

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