A HEREFORD nurse accused of murdering and attempting to murder babies being cared for at a hospital has had a not guilty verdict recorded for one of the charges.

Lucy Letby, 32, was initially charged with murdering eight babies and trying to kill 10 more.

At a hearing at Manchester Crown Court on Friday, Nick Johnson QC said the prosecution was offering no evidence on one of the counts of murder.

Mr Justice Goss formally directed a verdict of not guilty be recorded on that count.

Letby entered not guilty pleas to all the remaining counts at an earlier hearing.

She appeared in court via video link from HMP Bronzefield on Friday, speaking only to confirm her name, during an 80-minute hearing which dealt with matters ahead of her trial which cannot be reported.

Around a dozen parents of the children involved sat in the public gallery watching proceedings.

Letby is alleged to have killed the babies while working on the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital, Chester.

She denies the murder of five baby boys and two baby girls and the attempted murder of five baby boys and five baby girls, all between June 2015 and June 2016.

A court order prohibits reporting of the identities of surviving and dead children allegedly attacked by Letby, and prohibits identifying the parents or witnesses connected with the children.

The defendant, of Arran Avenue, Hereford, was remanded into custody to appear for a further pre-trial hearing on July 29.

Her trial, estimated to last up to six months at Manchester Crown Court, is scheduled to begin on October 4.