Lucy Letby: Did she do it?

Andrew L. Urban,

In just under 80 minutes, the audio version of the New Yorker’s investigative piece about the Lucy Letby case provides a thorough expose of the hysterical miscarriage of justice that an entire legal system has managed. You can read it in full, too. 

 It’s a thorough and compelling piece of investigative journalism by Rachel Aviv. The article provides the fuller context – and remember, truth is context. There is also a remarkable echo of Kathleen Folbigg’s ‘confessional’ diaries, now dismissed as evidence against her. Letby’s version is a collection of handwritten notes.

It seems to me that the investigations by dedicated journalists in several cases is more thorough than police investigations. Unfortunately, the police investigations lead to court and can lead to wrongful convictions with loss of confidence in the legal system – the journalists’ investigations come too late.

Lucy Letby

“The case against her gathered force on the basis of a single diagram shared by the police, which circulated widely in the media. On the vertical axis were twenty-four “suspicious events,” which included the deaths of the seven newborns and seventeen other instances of babies suddenly deteriorating. On the horizontal axis were the names of thirty-eight nurses who had worked on the unit during that time, with X’s next to each suspicious event that occurred when they were on shift. Letby was the only nurse with an uninterrupted line of X’s below her name. She was the “one common denominator,” the “constant malevolent presence when things took a turn for the worse,” one of the prosecutors, Nick Johnson, told the jury in his opening statement. “If you look at the table overall the picture is, we suggest, self-evidently obvious. It’s a process of elimination.”

But, we suggest, this is also a self-evidently obvious failure of investigation. A combination of tunnel vision, scientific incompetence, lack of imagination, rejection of common sense and egregious failure of the law.


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7 Responses to Lucy Letby: Did she do it?

  1. Garry Stannus says:

    From The Guardian (12Jun2024):

    The prosecutor said one of Letby’s colleagues, Dr Ravi Jayaram, walked in on the nurse “doing nothing” while Baby K’s blood oxygen levels collapsed suddenly. Alarms would ordinarily have sounded to alert staff that a baby’s heart rate or blood oxygen levels had fallen below a certain level – but this time they did not, Johnson said.

    “The reason the alarms didn’t sound was because somebody had disabled them,” he told the jury. “When Dr Jayaram walked into the nursery he saw Lucy Letby was standing over [Baby K]. [Baby K’s] blood oxygen was falling but the alarm was not sounding. Not only that, but Lucy Letby was doing nothing.”

    Johnson said the “only reasonable” thing for Letby to have done was to call for help or assist the baby’s breathing. He added: “The reason [Baby K] was desaturating was because the ET [endotracheal] tube had been displaced.

    “We suggest the fact Lucy Letby was doing nothing and the fact the alarm was not sounding is evidence from which you can conclude that Lucy Letby, the convicted murderer, had displaced the tube.”

    Johnson said Letby had been “caught virtually red-handed by Dr Jayaram” and added: “It’s a very straightforward factual issue in this case: if that tube was displaced how did it happen?”

    Jurors were told that Baby K collapsed twice in the following hours, when Letby was allegedly present. On both occasions, the prosecutor said, the breathing tube had been displaced.

    Johnson said Letby was “trying to create the impression” that the newborn was dislodging her own tube despite being extremely premature and heavily sedated on morphine.

    “We say that is coincidence too far,” he said. “Lucy Letby [was] trying to create an impression after being caught almost red-handed … that this child had a particular problem.”

  2. Don Wakeling says:

    Has the leave to appeal application been given a hearing date?

  3. Poppa says:

    It just is INJUSTICE !

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