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Support for Letby surprising, says lead witness

Source: News online from BBC Wales published on this website Monday 8 July 2024

Andy Gourlay BBC News and Jack Grey BBC News have written:

The support received by convicted baby murderer Lucy Letby has been "rather surprising", according to the chief prosecution witness in her trial.

Dr Dewi Evans said some of Letby's supporters had refused to believe the evidence against her and had reported him to the General Medical Council (GMC).

Last week, Letby was sentenced to a 15th whole-life term for trying to kill a premature baby girl.

The 34-year-old had already been jailed for murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others at the Countess of Chester Hospital in 2015 and 2016.

Dr Evans, a retired paediatrician from Carmarthen who was the lead medical expert in the case, said he was shocked but not too surprised to hear about the complaints against him.

He told Radio 4's Today programme that "back in the day" it was "not uncommon" for supporters of abusers to intimidate doctors by complaining to the GMC.

"This occurred quite a lot in the '80s and '90s, but to occur now is rather surprising," he said.

Some of those that believe Letby is innocent have targeted Dr Evans online.

However, he said he has avoided social media and had CCTV installed at his home following another child abuse case a few years ago.

"It’s such a shocking thing to come to terms with and of course one of the ways of dealing with shocking news is to go into denial and shoot the messenger," he said.

"This is what’s happened in this particular case."

He said it was "very, very difficult" to come to terms with the fact these murders were "not caused by an old individual" but by a "young, white, English nurse from a respectable background".

"How on earth can you stomach that? And one of the ways of dealing with it is to deny that it happened."

Dr Evans added he believed Letby got away with her crimes, aside from the "incompetence of general managers", because she "hid in plain sight".

"She superficially appeared as a fairly normal person, and this is essential for anyone who commits a crime hiding in plain sight.

"It happened with Harold Shipman, it happened with Jimmy Savile, it is crucial to their getting away with it that they appear normal."