Timeline of Britain’s most shocking murder case as Lucy Letby found guilty

Lucy Letby: Cheshire Constabulary share footage from arrest

These are some of the key dates from baby deaths to investigation, to arrest and charging of nurse Lucy Letby:

June 8 2015: Newborn tot Child A – the first baby Letby was charged with murdering – dies at 8.58pm, within 90 minutes of Lucy Letby coming on duty at the neonatal unit of Countess of Chester Hospital.

June 22 2015: Baby girl Child D dies 36 hours after her birth, the third infant death in a fortnight – equalling the total number of deaths on the neonatal unit for the whole of 2014.

End of June/July: Meeting between neonatal lead consultant Dr Stephen Brearey and director of nursing Alison Kelly to discuss an informal review into Child D’s death, with findings revealing an “association” with nurse Lucy Letby and her presence at the recent collapses.

August 5: Blood sugar levels of a premature-born baby boy, Child F, fall dangerously low and a blood sample sent for tests at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. A day earlier the boy’s twin brother, Child E, died following an unexpected collapse.

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August 13: The blood test result for Child F reveals abnormally high level of insulin, not naturally produced.

October 23: Premature-born girl Child I dies. Concerns are raised again by unit consultants via email.

February 8 2016: “Thematic” review from independent neonatologist, from Liverpool Women’s Hospital, takes place at the request of Dr Brearey. It fails to find a reason for the increase in deaths and collapses but concerns remain over Letby as the report is forwarded to nursing director Ms Kelly and medical director Ian Harvey.

April 9: Child L suffers a hypoglycaemic episode where his blood sugars plunge. Meanwhile his twin brother Child M unexpectedly collapses and requires full resuscitation before he recovers. A blood sample from Child L is sent for tests at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.

April 16: The blood test result for Child L shows a very high level of insulin which again indicates it was not produced naturally.

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June 24: Child P, one of triplet boys, collapses and dies a day after the death of his newborn brother Child O. Dr Brearey phones duty executive Karen Rees, a senior nurse in the urgent care division, insisting the consultants do not want Letby to work her next scheduled shift on June 25 – but she rejects the plea.

June 25: Ninety minutes into Letby’s day shift, Child Q, a premature-born boy, needs breathing support after his blood oxygen levels and heart rate plummet. He goes on to make a full recovery.

June 29: Consultants discuss recent “inexplicable” events and urge hospital bosses to remove Letby from the unit as a safety measure.

June 30: Letby works her last nursing shift on the neonatal unit.

July 7: Hospital bosses reduce the neonatal unit service by cutting cot space numbers and increasing the gestational age limit for admission from a minimum of 27 to 32 weeks.

July 15: All nursing staff told via email they will undergo a period of clinical supervision – after medical director Mr Harvey had asked the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) to conduct a review of the unit’s service. The email states: “Lucy has agreed to undergo this supervision first on Monday 18th July.”

July 19: Letby starts an admin post in the hospital’s Patient Experience Team.

August 9: Another group email to neonatal staff informs them that job secondment opportunities are available and states Letby is spending three months in the Risk and Patient Safety Office.

September 7: Letby registers a formal grievance procedure against her employer. Around this time the Royal College of Nursing union informs her by letter about allegations surrounding her involvement with a number of deaths.

November 2016: RCPCH finds no obvious factors linking eight deaths in the neonatal unit in 2015 and five deaths up to July 2016. However it uncovers significant gaps in medical and nursing rotas, and insufficient staffing among high dependency and intensive care wards.

May 18 2017: Cheshire Police start probe Operation Hummingbird into “a greater number of baby deaths and collapses” at the hospital between June 2015 and June 2016, focusing on eight deaths and reviews seven further deaths and six non-fatal collapses.

July 3 2018: Letby is arrested at 6am at her three-bed home in Westbourne Road, Chester, with searches also at her parents’ home in Hereford and work. Probe widens to 17 deaths and 15 non-fatal collapses between March 2015 and July 2016.

June 10 2019: Letby is re-arrested at her parents’ home.

November 10 2020: Letby is arrested for third time before being charged. She appears in court two days later.

October 4 2022: Letby goes on trial at Manchester Crown Court for the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of 10 others.

August 18 2022: Lucy Letby found guilty at Manchester Crown Court of the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

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