Serial killer nurse Lucy Letby has launched an appeal against her convictions.
The 33-year-old, who received a whole-life order last month for the murders of seven babies and attempted murder of six others, is commencing her efforts to clear her name this month.
However, a full consideration of her appeal is not expected for several months. Letby, originally from Hereford, was found guilty of assaulting the infants at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit in 2015 and 2016.
She denied all charges and did not attend her sentencing at Manchester Crown Court.
Letby’s appeal comes following a fundraising campaign by a scientist, Sarrita Adams, who asserts that unreliable expert advice and a poor understanding of science contributed to her conviction.
Adams leads a group called Science on Trial, which claims that Letby’s case may represent a significant miscarriage of justice. Although Letby was cleared of two counts of attempted murder, the jury couldn’t reach verdicts on six counts of attempted murder related to five children.
The Crown Prosecution Service will decide on a retrial for those counts on September 25. Letby is now expected to launch her appeal formally during that hearing.
Letby seeks to appeal all her convictions. Any convicted individual has 28 days to seek permission to appeal; this period expired today following her trial’s last verdicts.
A judge will now review Letby’s application and determine whether to grant permission for an appeal. If permission is granted, the appeal will be heard by three senior judges.
If her application for permission is denied, Letby can still renew it before a panel of two or three judges. To have an appeal heard, it is necessary to show that there are grounds for arguing the conviction is unsafe.
If the judges concur, they can overturn the conviction and order a retrial.
Last month, Janet Cox, Letby’s “best friend” and a colleague on the neonatal unit, stated she believed the nurse was innocent. The Judicial Office confirmed that it had received an application for leave to appeal.
Letby’s solicitor, Richard Thomas, declined to comment. An independent inquiry into Letby’s case is expected to be conducted by the Department of Health, examining the circumstances surrounding the deaths and incidents, including how concerns raised by clinicians were handled.
The Criminal Appeal Office has not disclosed the grounds for appeal, and no formal court hearing has been listed yet. Lady Justice Thirlwall, one of the country’s most senior judges, will lead the inquiry into Letby’s crimes.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay described her as a judge and barrister with extensive experience. The inquiry will have legal powers to compel witnesses, including current and former staff of the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, to provide evidence.
Letby became only the fourth woman in UK history to receive a whole-life term, reserved for the most heinous crimes, including murderers like Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens, necrophiliac David Fuller, and terrorist Ali Harbi Ali, who killed MP Sir David Amess.
A total of 70 individuals are serving whole-life orders in the UK, with three women, including Myra Hindley, Rose West, and Joanna Dennehy, previously facing such sentences.