Lucy Letby: Steve Barclay hints at changing status of inquiry into nurse’s crimes


Lucy Letby: Steve Barclay hints at changing status of inquiry into nurse's crimes

Health Secretary Steve Barclay has hinted at changing the status of the inquiry looking into the crimes of Lucy Letby, saying he wanted to ensure the families affected had “full confidence” in the probe.

The government ordered an inquiry last week after Letby was found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others while working as a neonatal nurse.

She was sentenced to 14 whole-life orders and will never leave prison.

Ministers said that “after careful consideration”, a non-statutory inquiry into the circumstances at the Countess of Chester Hospital “was found to be the most appropriate option”.

But lawyers for the bereaved families called for a full statutory public inquiry to take place so there was “nowhere to hide”.

Speaking to broadcasters on Wednesday, Mr Barclay appeared to show a change of heart, telling reporters: “We will ensure that the legal framework for that has the full confidence of the families affected.

“And I’ll be engaging with them on that – whether that’s on a statutory or non-statutory basis – to ensure that inquiry, looking at issues such as whistleblowers and other actions related to this case are fully investigated.”

Lucy Letby: Steve Barclay hints at changing status of inquiry into nurse's crimes

Calls began to grow for a full statutory inquiry after the guilty verdicts were delivered last Friday.

One of the families’ lawyers, Yvonne Agnew of Slater and Gordon, told Sky News anything else would be “inadequate” and “there has to be teeth” to the probe.

“To take these families through everything again, they have to be clear the right questions will be asked to the right people and there will be nowhere to hide,” she said.

“There has to be the ability to make people answer these questions.”

Her calls were echoed from politicians on all sides of the House.

Tory former justice secretary Sir Robert Buckland told Sky News while the killings themselves needed to be “understood”, so too did the response of authorities like the NHS.

And the Labour MP for the City of Chester, Samantha Dixon, wrote to the health secretary demanding the full inquiry took place.

Letby, 33, refused to attend court for the announcement of a number of guilty verdicts on Friday or for her sentencing on Monday.

Sky News understands the government is now looking at changing the law to force criminals to appear.


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