‘There is a possibility that this is a terrible miscarriage of justice’

After Lucy Letby was found guilty of seven counts of murder and seven attempted murder, questions have been raised about the evidence used to convict the former nurse.

The Telegraph on Tuesday examined concerns raised by the arguments used to convict Letby.

Telegraph readers responded with their views on the guilty verdict.

‘Mrs Letby is disappointed on all fronts’

Some readers believe that the evidence used to convict Letby was unreliable.

For example, Stephanie Findlay said: “There seems to be a problem with experts giving probabilities. A juror has to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, but if an expert says the probability is one in 73 million, the juror is virtually obliged to accept the expertise.

“You could argue, however, that it is statistically unlikely that someone would win the lottery. So maybe these probabilities should be compared to other unlikely events, like being hit by a bus or being killed in a train crash, so that the jurors understand that even if the chance is minuscule, it can happen.”

The reader concluded: “If Lucy is innocent, I hope she gets justice very soon.”

David James also thought The Telegraph’s investigation “will hopefully mark a step towards a review of the case and a conviction”.

He continued: “It appears that Ms Letby has been completely let down by the prosecution, the defence lawyers and the professional judges.”

Some readers were particularly concerned about the statistical evidence used against Letby.

Retired analyst Cassandra Blackley was “delighted that the DT published this piece”. Ms Blackley has “repeatedly raised serious concerns about the use of shift pattern evidence in the conviction of Letby, and echoed the warnings of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) about its validity, often to howls of disapproval from other commentators. This piece is first-rate investigative journalism”.

Also, “I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable about this case,” began an anonymous reader. They shared that their wife worked at the same hospital until recently, and while she didn’t work directly with Letby, they knew that some staff members who worked with the former nurse still disputed her innocence.

“Secondly, the statistical evidence just seems a little bit inconclusive. I still think she probably did it, but maybe there’s a 10-20 percent chance that this is a terrible miscarriage of justice,” the reader said.

Richard Martin also pointed out “the statistical problems” which he claims were “absolutely obvious at the time of the original trial and sentencing, and which several people have pointed out.”

“I can’t really understand why Letby was not given permission to appeal,” they said.

‘I couldn’t find any convincing evidence’

Meanwhile, T. Platt, who also feels “uncomfortable” with the guilty verdict, shared his experience as a lawyer: “I could find no evidence that was compelling, and far too much that could be shown to be unreliable.

“That doesn’t mean I don’t think she did it, but more that I can’t see how they can convict her based on what they did.”

One reader suggested that there were problems with a process that treated jurors as “fellow citizens” rather than as “equals.”

Brian Harrington said: “It is highly likely that none of the jurors were ‘colleagues’ of Mrs Letby, ie with equivalent training, qualifications and experience in neonatal medicine. Being ‘fellow citizens’ of Mrs Letby in no way makes them qualified to make decisions in this highly specialised field of medicine, and furthermore raises the issue (as pointed out in the Telegraph analysis) of sophisticated, advanced statistics.

“Even the judge is not qualified to draw conclusions about the evidence presented. I would hypothesize that the jury’s verdicts were most likely based on which lawyers they despised the least.”

In a similar vein, F.A. McWeeney criticized the jury selection: “My husband and I wondered how a jury could be found for the recent trial that would not be influenced by their knowledge of the previous results.

“Juries are told to put all the knowledge they have out of their minds, but how is that actually possible?”

EA Harper-Wilkes believed Lucy Letby was a scapegoat: “This whole case reminds me of Sally Clarke – the lawyer who was wrongly imprisoned for the murder of her babies. It was a parody of justice from which she never recovered and she and her husband were lawyers who knew how the law worked.

“I believe that ultimately there were no ‘murders’ committed, just an overstretched, unsanitary and poorly managed unit dealing with very vulnerable babies – and bosses looking for someone to blame.”

‘Guilty all day’

Other readers, however, had no doubt that Letby was guilty.

Jon Bolton claimed: “Guilty all day. Yes, the statistics are questionable, but they were not decisive for the conviction.”

R. Bernden found The Telegraph’s investigation “interesting”, but would not rush to judgment based on this one report. “After all, the jury and the Court of Appeal judges did more than just read a 2,000-word newspaper article.”

Hans Strand put forward his point: “Dr. Alexander Coward suggests that it is flawed to show only the days on which an incident occurred.”

“I argue the opposite,” he claimed. “If a suspect is the only person present at every murder, that is compelling evidence that he is the killer.

“We have of course experienced this before, with the media and experts who know a lot about their small specialism, but who have no overview of the whole thing, who go on a wild goose chase.”

Mr Strand reflected on the White House Farm murders. “The media campaigned long and hard to get Jeremy Bamber acquitted, based on the fact that it is possible to remove individual pieces of evidence and, yes, like Letby (and like most murders), no one actually saw him do it. But take the evidence as a whole, as the jury did, and Bamber is clearly guilty.

“The same is undoubtedly true here. There was a trial, a jury heard all the evidence, a decision was made and a verdict was pronounced. That’s how criminal law works. The media needs to stop stirring things up for cheap drama and clicks.”

John Woods considered Letby’s appearance: “The problem is that we expect our mass murderers, especially of children, to look like monsters. But when they look like an attractive young woman, combined with a hint of vulnerability, we just can’t believe it, let alone accept it.”

Reader Anne Halbert believes the legal process has reached the right verdict. She argued: “If you look at the graph of neonatal deaths, they have now returned to the normal pattern of 0-1/year. Despite all the experts who have not had a chance to look at all the evidence, I believe the legal process has reached the right verdict: guilty.”

Some readers, like Marcus Moseley, still need convincing. “I remain neutral,” he says. But he saw the research as “compelling” and “speaking truth to power.”

Marcus Jacobs said, “If I had a baby, I wouldn’t want to risk her taking care of me.”

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