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Names of murdered babies revealed as accused nurse appears in court

Written by on 12 November 2020

A nurse has been remanded in custody after being charged with the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of 10 others.

Lucy Letby appeared by video link at Warrington Magistrates’ Court and spoke in a strong, clear voice to confirm her name, date of birth and home address in Hereford.

The children under 12 months of age who were allegedly murdered were named on the court list as Cemlyn Bennett, Joseph Johnson, Elsie McNall, Barney Gee, Daisy Parkin, Maddie Freed, Joseph Gelder and Eli Gelder.

A lawyer representing two of the bereaved families told Sky News it has been “an incredibly difficult time” for them.

Emma Doughty from Slater and Gordon said: “I don’t think we can put into words what they’ve been through. It’s just a rollercoaster followed by a period of thinking is there ever going to be any justice.

“There’s a balance to be had, they want to see this through, but it brings it all back for them. You can only imagine the continued pain they feel of having it brought up again.

“They put their trust in the hospital to take care of their most precious being, their child and that trust has gone. They want to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

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Letby, 30, was arrested for a third time on Tuesday as part of an investigation into the Countess of Chester Hospital which began in 2017.

Image:
Police pictured outside Letby’s home in June 2019

Pascale Jones, prosecuting, told the court there were “substantial grounds” to believe she needed to be remanded in custody “for her own protection”.

It took just over two-and-a-half minutes for District Judge Nicholas Sanders to read out all the charges, which relate to a period between June 2015 and June 2016.

He said the names of the children connected to the charges of attempted murder could not be reported.

No pleas were entered, and families of the alleged victims watched the proceedings from remote locations.

On Tuesday, police said parents of all the infants involved were being kept fully updated on developments and being supported by officers.

Letby is due before Chester Crown Court for a further hearing on Friday afternoon.

Detectives launched an investigation into infant deaths at the hospital in May 2017, looking initially at the deaths of 15 babies between June 2015 and June 2016.

The probe later widened to the deaths of 17 babies and 16 non-fatal collapses between March 2015 and July 2016.