A Hereford-based nurse accused of killing 8 babies and 10 attempted murders at a hospital neo-natal unit has been remanded in custody after she and her lawyer appeared in court via video link.
Lucy Letby, 30, sat along with her lawyer and only spoke at the 12-minute hearing, giving her name, address, and date of birth.
She has been accused of murdering five baby boys and three girls at the Countess of Chester hospital, Chester, England, where she worked.
The district judge Nicholas Sanders imposed a section 45 order preventing the media and press from identifying the alleged victims of attempted murder.
Letby carried out all the offenses from June 2015 to June 2016.
Her attorney, Richard Thomas, made no bail application as he sat with her throughout the hearing in a police station in Chester.
Letby was originally arrested in 2018 and again in 2019, but she got bail pending further inquiries. On Tuesday, she was re-arrested on suspicion of murdering 8 babies and attempting to murder at least 10 others. The investigation began in 2017.
Officials allowed only two press members into the courtroom, while a dozen more were watching the hearing via video link. Families of the victims also watched the proceedings through the same link.
CEO of Pryers Solicitors Neil Fearn, who represented some of the families, said they have welcomed the judge’s decision to charge Letby, describing the charge as a significant step forward.
He said, “The families are overwhelmed with the news and there is a mix of emotion. All the families now have hope that they can finally start to learn the truth of what happened in the first days of their children’s lives.”
“We have been working with the families for many years on these cases and they have had to live with the consequences for all that time,” Fearn added.
Slater and Gordon lawyer Robyn Smith, who represented two of the families, said, “Our clients are relieved that we are one step closer to getting the answers they have long-since been waiting for. We await the outcome of the criminal proceedings and will of course be supporting our clients through this traumatic process.”
Addressing the defendant, the judge said, “Today’s court hearing is for a number of matters. I won’t be taking any plea today, as I’m sure Mr. Thomas has discussed with you,” according to The Guardian.
“These are matters allocated to the crown court, today is a preliminary hearing to send to the crown court,” the judge added.
After Letby’s arrest, Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Paul Hughes, who is leading the investigation, said, “Parents of all the babies have been kept fully updated on this latest development and they are continuing to be supported throughout the process by specially trained officers.” The article originally appeared in The Guardian.