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CHESHIRE, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 2020: In this handout photo provided by Cheshire Constabulary, Lucy Letby has a headshot taken while in police custody in November 2020. Letby, a former nurse at Countess of Cheshire Hospital, was convicted of murdering seven babies, and attempting to murder six more, in the hospital’s neonatal ward between 2015 and 2016. (Handout Photo by Cheshire Constabulary via Getty Images)

Lucy Letby: what happens next?

Lucy Letby: what happens next?


The former neonatal nurse has been sentenced to a whole-life order for murdering seven babies in her care and attempting to murder six others. Now the focus is on the hospital where she worked and how she got away with it for so long.

Lucy Letby’s trial at Manchester Crown Court exposed the former neonatal nurse as the most prolific child serial killer in modern British history. But it also exposed the Countess of Chester hospital, where she worked, to questions about why her offending went on for so long.

Earlier this week the 33-year-old was sentenced to a whole life order after being found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others between June 2015 and June 2016. 

After she killed her first three victims the head consultant on the neonatal unit carried out an informal review.

Alison Kelly, the director of nursing and deputy chief executive of the hospital, was told in July 2015 that Lucy Letby was the only nurse on shift for each of the deaths.

No foul play was suspected, but when more babies began to deteriorate in unexplained and unusual circumstances doctors became increasingly concerned.

Lucy Letby was not removed from the unit until after the deaths of two triplet boys and the collapse of another baby boy on three successive days in June 2016. She was moved to an office job and filed a grievance against the doctors, which was ultimately resolved in her favour.

She was due to return to the ward in March 2017 when hospital bosses eventually called in the police.

Dr Ravi Jayaram, one of the consultant paediatricians who raised the alarm, told ITV News that “we were told when we initially raised concerns that if we call the police there’ll be blue and white tape everywhere. That’s the end of the unit. It would be really bad for the reputation of the Trust.”

After the trial concluded, Kelly – who is now in a different role – was suspended.

The government has announced an inquiry into what happened at the hospital, but there are calls for it to be given more powers. Number 10 says “all options are on the table”.

Today’s episode was written and mixed by Imy Harper.