Several friends and former colleagues of serial killer nurse Lucy Letby continue to believe in her innocence, despite the fact she has been jailed for life for murdering seven babies and attempting to kill another six.
Over the last 10 months, a jury at Manchester Crown Court heard evidence that Letby poisoned premature babies with inulin and injected her victims with air.
While the judge described her actions as a “cruel, calculated, and cynical campaign of child murder”, several close associates of the 33-year-old have remained supportive.
They include Janet Cox, a former nursing colleague and close friend of Letby’s who regularly appeared in court alongside her parents.
Photographs have emerged of Cox hugging Letby and wearing Christmas jumpers, months after she was removed from the unit as suspicion grew that a series of “unexplained and inexplicable” deaths might be linked to her presence.
When approached by the MailOnline outside her home and asked if she still believed in her friend’s innocence, she replied “Yes” but refused to elaborate.
Another childhood friend told BBC Panorama that she remained convinced of Letby’s innocence, and alluded to further support from her friendship group.
Dawn Howe, 33, a cancer research scientist, has known Letby since they attended Aylestone Secondary School in Hereford together.
“Unless Lucy turned around and said ‘I’m guilty’ I will never believe that she’s guilty,” she told the BBC. “We know she couldn’t have done anything that she’s accused of, so without a doubt, we stand by her.
“I grew up with Lucy and not a single thing that I’ve ever seen or witnessed of Lucy would let me for a moment believe she is capable of the things she’s accused of.
“It is the most out-of-character accusation that you could ever put against Lucy. Think of your most kind, gentle, soft friend and think that they’re being accused of harming babies.”
She accused police of “trying to build a case, to find someone culpable to find someone to blame”.
Letby’s defense lawyer, Ben Myers KC, had argued that “sub-optimal” care at the hospital had been behind the deaths, while Letby claimed she had been the victim of a “conspiracy”.
Taking to the stand, she named the ‘Gang of Four’ consultants who had “apportioned the blame onto her”.
A hospital source told The Sunday Times that some nurses who worked alongside Letby at the Countess of Chester Hospital are also struggling to accept the jury’s decision.
“There are still a small number of people on the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester who think she is innocent,” they said. “They are finding it difficult to believe she could have done it because for so long they were fed the narrative that Letby was being blamed by consultants who were making excuses for their own mistakes.”
Police and the court system were left frustrated during the trial as several armchair detectives and amateur sleuths posted theories about the case online, occasionally breaking the strict reporting restrictions.
A campaign to raise funds for Letby’s appeal has also been launched in the US and claims that the conviction “may represent the greatest miscarriage of justice the UK has ever witnessed”.
Donations are not yet open for ‘Science on Trial’, which states that its main aim is “to ensure that scientific evidence is used responsibly in the criminal justice system”.
Since her conviction, the hashtag #LucyLetbyInnocent has accumulated millions of views, likes, and comments on TikTok, with many comparing the case to Amanda Knox and Dutch nurse Lucia de Berk. Both women were wrongfully convicted of murder before their sentences were overturned.
Jurors however were left in little doubt of her guilt, and Letby was found guilty of 14 out of 22 charges, making her the most prolific child serial killer in UK modern history.