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British neonatal nurse convicted of murders appeal convictions

LONDON (AP) – A British neonatal nurse who was sentenced last month to life in prison with no chance of release for murdering seven babies has launched a bid to appeal her convictions, officials said Friday.

Lucy Letby, 33, was found guilty of murdering seven babies and the attempted murder of six others between June 2015 and June 2016 at the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital in northwestern England, by a jury at Manchester Crown Court.

She was cleared of two additional charges of attempted murder. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on several other charges.

Officials at the Court of Appeal said Friday they had received an application for permission to appeal against the convictions.

Typically, applications for permission to appeal against a crown court decision are considered by a judge without a hearing. If the bid is refused, the guilty parties have the right to renew their bid at a full court hearing before two or three judges.

Letby’s motives remain unclear, but the scale of her crimes pointed to intricate planning.

Letby, who refused to appear in court for her sentencing or to face an outpouring of anger and anguish from grieving parents, was accused of deliberately harming the babies in various ways, including by injecting air into their bloodstreams and administering air or milk into their stomachs via nasogastric tubes.

She was also accused of poisoning infants by adding insulin to intravenous feeds and interfering with breathing tubes.

Judge James Goss imposed a rare “whole-life order” on Letby, who he said acted with “malevolence bordering on sadism.”

Only three other women have received such a harsh sentence in the United Kingdom.

The British government launched an independent inquiry soon after the verdicts to look into the wider circumstances around what happened at the hospital, including the handling of concerns raised by staff.

This undated photo issued by Cheshire Constabulary, shows nurse Lucy Letby. PHOTO: AP