Lucy Letby inquiry will not be livestreamed to public, chairwoman rules

The inquiry is set to begin at Liverpool Town Hall on September 10.

Lucy Letby was convicted of murdering seven babies
Lucy Letby was convicted of murdering seven babies (Cheshire Constabulary/PA)

An inquiry into the crimes of serial killer nurse Lucy Letby will not be livestreamed to the public, it has been ruled.

The inquiry, which will examine how the nurse was able to murder babies on the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit in 2015 and 2016, is set to begin at Liverpool Town Hall on September 10.

Letby, of Hereford, was sentenced to 14 whole life orders after she was convicted of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others, with two attempts on one of her victims.

Lawyers for the families had argued that the inquiry should be livestreamed to the public to prevent the spread of “grossly offensive” conspiracy theories.

In a ruling published on Wednesday, chairwoman of the inquiry Lady Justice Thirlwall said the proceedings would not be broadcast live because of the risk of breaching court orders which prevent the identification of a number of people involved, including all of the babies.

She said: “I do not accept that this is a risk the inquiry should take. Not only is there a significant risk to the inquiry itself, I take account of the human cost of a breach.

“For a parent, who has already suffered so much, to be identified online is unthinkable.”

The hearings will be held in public and those involved in the inquiry, including the families and media, will be able to apply to watch remotely over live links.

In her ruling, Lady Justice Thirlwall rejected the submissions from lawyers representing the families, made at a preliminary hearing earlier this month, that a publicly available live broadcast would “reduce or dispel toxic and offensive conspiracy theories”.

She said: “Searching for truth is not a characteristic of conspiracy theorists. Like those who promulgate fake news, they search for information which supports their world view.

“When they find none, they manufacture it, often using and distorting video footage to be found on the internet.”

She said it was “unsurprising” that staff at the hospital were anxious and concerned about giving evidence to the inquiry.

She added: “I make it plain that, notwithstanding their nerves, I expect all witnesses, doctors and nurses included, to tell the truth, to make every effort to assist the inquiry when giving evidence and to reflect thoughtfully on what happened. Candour and frankness should be a given.”