A NURSE today pleaded not guilty to murdering eight babies and attempting to kill nine others.
Lucy Letby, 30, was arrested for a third time in November after a three-year probe into the deaths at the Countess of Chester Hospital's neonatal unit.
She today appeared at Manchester Crown Court via video link from HMP Peterborough where she is being held.
Letby denied eight counts of murder and ten counts of attempted murder.
The charges relate to 17 babies aged under one – with one alleged victim falling under both a murder and attempted murder count.
There is a reporting restriction banning naming the five baby boys and three girls allegedly murdered by Letby.
The five baby boys and five baby girls she is accused of attempting to kill also cannot be identified.
The alleged offences are said to have taken place between June 2015 and June 2016.
A provisional trial date has been set for October next year.
Police launched a probe after the hospital raised concerns at the high number of deaths between March 2015 and July 2016 – which were said to be 10 per cent above average.
An internal inquiry was undertaken when medics found premature babies had died following heart and lung failure.
Police said previously parents of all the babies involved were being kept fully updated on developments and were supported by officers.
Letby was arrested by police in 2018 and again in 2019 but was bailed pending further inquiries.
Following her previous arrests, her home in the Blacon area of Chester was searched by police.
Lucy had worked as a student nurse during three years of training before qualifying as a children's nurse at the University of Chester in 2011.
At the time of her arrest, a pal described her as a "professional nurse" who was dedicated to her "dream job".
Robyn Smith, of Slater and Gordon, representing two of the families, said: "We await the outcome of the criminal proceedings and will of course be supporting our clients through this traumatic process.”
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