THE prosecution case against murder-accused nurse Lucy Letby is “fuelled and riddled by the presumption of guilt”, jurors have heard.

The 33-year-old is accused of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder 10 others in the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and June 2016.

On Monday, her defence barrister, Ben Myers KC, started his closing speech in her trial, which began at Manchester Crown Court last October.

Addressing the jury of eight women and four men, he said: “What is really at work is best described as the presumption of guilt. That is what is being used.

“The prosecution case is fuelled by it and riddled by it.

“No matter what Lucy Letby says, or doesn’t say, it is slotted into an ever-flexible, ever-changing theory of guilt.

“Everything is treated as evidence of guilt.

“I am going to ask you to do something different. I am going to ask you to approach the evidence with something else at the forefront of your mind – that’s something called the presumption of innocence.

“Being fair and working on the basis that someone is innocent until proven guilty is how our law works.”


Mr Myers said it is “hard to imagine” allegations that are “more upsetting and distressing” but urged jurors to “guard against” sympathy and a “natural desire to point blame and to seek retribution”.

He said the prosecution has characterised Letby as “manipulative and calculated” in a way that “serves their case”.

He told the jury: “She was a 25-year-old Band 5 nurse, an excellent one.

“But without being rude or complimentary, that’s what she was. Looking after dozens or hundreds of babies – not just the 17 we have spent these nine months looking at.”

Referring to her cross-examination in evidence, Mr Myers said: “She is not a genius with an infallible and excellent memory.

“She is somebody who was ready to stand up for herself at some points and someone who could remember pieces of evidence from the years she has been waiting for this trial. It’s not like there is loads else to do in prison.

“This is someone who was scared and anxious, and struggling to hold it together.

“The prosecution portrayal is back to front. They have to make her into someone she is not.

“They have done that to compensate for the fact they don’t have the evidence they need.”

Mr Myers pointed out to jurors that, despite Letby being under suspicion by an increasing number of doctors over nearly 12 months, there is no evidence of her doing any of the alleged harmful acts.

Letby, from Hereford, denies all the allegations