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The jurors had little choice but to find Lucy guilty, given the flawed scientific evidence with which they were presented
Lucy Letby has been found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder a further six on seven occasions. She was found not guilty on two counts of attempted murder and no verdict could be returned in relation to the six other counts of attempted murder. The Crown Prosecution Service has 28 days to decide whether to retry Lucy for these latter six counts (let's hope it does as so much more will emerge about the flawed evidence that was presented at trial by so-called scientific experts over the last 10 months).
Lucy being found guilty is I am convinced a miscarriage of justice of gargantuan proportions. People will of course ask how it could be, given the large number of people involved, whether doctors, the police, experts, nurses, other hospital staff, etc. Moreover, Lucy's defence team could and should have debunked the scientific evidence presented by the prosecution, whether through effective questioning of the prosecution's experts or presenting its own. It failed on both counts. Of six autopsies conducted at the time, five found natural causes, one was 'unascertained'.
Why the defence failed is something that is only likely to become clear in the coming months and years. The scientific evidence was presented by medical doctors, something that would not happen in the US - scientific evidence gets presented by scientists. In February, the jury heard that the expert presenting the evidence in relation to air embolus, retired paeditrician Dewi Evans, had been admonished previously by a senior judge for presenting "worthless evidence". The paper presented by Evans on which he based his claims of harm was old and anyway not relevant to the cases in Chester. Evidence that air embolus can be the result of resuscitation - duh! - was not presented.
It also turns out that the prosecution's insulin expert UCL’s Professor Peter Hindmarsh's assertion that exogenous insulin was administered may have been wrong (in fact the scientist who created this fabulous website debunking all the scientific evidence told Lucy’s barrister back in March of their analysis).
And what about the high number of other so-called excess deaths that occurred on the unit in 2015 and 2016? And why didn't the number of deaths decline after Lucy was taken off the ward (Chart 1)? The case stank from the beginning and it stinks even more now - let's face it, it would have made more sense for Lucy to be convicted on all 22 charges rather than 14.
Talking of stink, the only witness the defence presented other than Lucy herself was the plumber who testified about sewerage on the unit. This is relevant because very viable alternative suspects are viruses such as enterovirus and parechovirus. These are summer viruses which correspond with the clustering of the 22 deaths and collapses in the summers of 2015 and 2016. And they are water borne i.e can be carried in sewerage. Importantly, they can kill, particularly very premature babies who are obviously vulnerable.
Let us hope that the analysis in this fabulous website is quickly peer reviewed and found to be correct, and that Lucy can be granted an appeal at the earliest opportunity.
I am today ashamed to be a national of a country whose justice system allowed such a horrific injustice to occur.
Chart 1: Deaths among neonates at the Countess of Chester/Chester and W. Cheshire
Chart 1 above presents data from three different sources, the hospital itself, MBRRACE, and the ONS. The data are conflicting. While the ONS data is for Chester and Cheshire West, not just the hospital, it can be considered a proxy given that the hospital accounted for an average of 80% of Chester and Cheshire West from 2015-2020. Unfortunately, the ONS data only starts in 2015 so one is unable to ascertain whether its data showed a big increase from 2014. Why is there a discrepancy? It is hard to know but one possibility is that the ONS data come from the coroner while the hospital and MBRRACE data come from the hospital.
The views expressed in this communication are those of Peter Elston at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. They do not constitute investment advice and whilst all reasonable efforts have been used to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this communication, the reliability, completeness or accuracy of the content cannot be guaranteed. This communication provides information for professional use only and should not be relied upon by retail investors as the sole basis for investment.
© Chimp Investor Ltd