The ‘best friend’ of Lucy Letby last night continued to profess that the baby killer nurse was innocent of murdering seven babies and harming six others.
Janet Cox, who worked alongside the 33-year-old on the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital, said she would continue to stand by Britain’s most prolific serial child killer as her legal team consider an appeal.
Over ten months of evidence, the jury heard how Letby had injected youngsters with air and poisoned them with insulin. She was sentenced to 14 whole-life sentences earlier this week.
Mrs Cox spoke briefly at the front door of her semi-detached home in Ellesmere Port on the Wirral when approached by MailOnline.
Asked whether she still believed in her friend’s innocence, she replied ‘Yes’ but refused to elaborate further.
For most of Letby’s trial, Mrs Cox sat beside the killer’s parents, John, 77, and Susan, 63, in the public gallery of Court 7 at Manchester Crown Court.
Janet Cox (left) worked alongside Letby at the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital
Jurors listened to ten months of evidence that linked Letby to the deaths. But despite this Mrs Cox has struggled to come to terms with her friend’s guilt
Their seats were across the courtroom from where police officers and relatives of Letby’s tiny victims took their own places to listen to the overwhelming evidence against her.
This meant they were behind the murder when she gave evidence in her own defence and under cross-examination by Nick Johnson KC.
On those occasions Letby sat at a seat in the well of the court, wedged between two female prison officers and surrounded by lever arch files of evidence.
Mrs Cox was with her friends when the jury returned their first verdicts, and again when they found her guilty of the first of seven murders.
On that occasion she comforted Mrs Letby as she left court sobbing and crying: ‘This cannot be right’.
A man at Mrs Cox’s house previously told the Telegraph the pair were ‘best friends’.
Letby (right, with Cox) maintained her claims of innocence throughout her trial and refused to appear in the dock for her sentencing on Monday
Mrs Cox was with her friends when the jury returned their first verdicts, and again when they found her guilty of the first of seven murders
Letby with Mrs Cok and a group of their friends on a social occasion
In the run-up to the trial, a number of Letby’s friends stayed loyal to her, and that support is continuing even after her conviction.
The nurse maintained her claims of innocence throughout her trial and refused to appear in the dock for her sentencing on Monday.
The killer’s barrister, Ben Myers KC, suggested she was an innocent medic who was being ‘scapegoated’ by a so-called ‘Gang of Four’ paediatricians on the unit.
Hospital managers upheld her formal complaint against the ‘gang’ and at one stage called on them to give her written apologies.
They repeatedly refused to call in police and only did so close to the end of Letby’s year-long killing spree.
Their support for the killer meant she remained on the unit long after paediatricians had lobbied for her removal.
As a result the death toll kept on rising – a fact that will be a major focus of the eventual inquiry into the deliberate campaign of murder she carried out ‘in plain sight’ of her colleagues.
Both doctors and nurses found themselves desperately trying to save the lives of infants she had cynically and catastrophically sabotaged.
Mrs Cox is not the only friend or colleague or Letby to stand by her despite overwhelming evidence of her guilt.
Police searches uncovered a trove of grim mementoes Letby kept from her victims – and a Post-It note reading: ‘I am evil, I did this’
Dr Gilby ‘rapidly came to the conclusion’ that failures to deal with complaints about Letby ‘more likely than not’ led to the deaths of babies. Lucy Letby is pictured while working at the Countess of Chester Hospital
‘There are still a small number of people on the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester who think she is innocent,’ a source told The Times.
‘They are finding it difficult to believe she could have done it, because for so long they were fed the narrative that Letby was being blamed by consultants who were making excuses for their own mistakes.’
A long-term friend of Letby, Dawn Howe, is among those who refuses to accept the jury’s decision that the nurse is a baby killer.
Speaking to the BBC’s Panorama programme, Ms Howe, 33, said: ‘Unless Lucy turned around and said “I’m guilty” I will never believe that she’s guilty.
‘We know she couldn’t have done anything that she’s accused of, so without a doubt we stand by her.
‘I grew up with Lucy and not a single thing that I’ve ever seen or witnessed of Lucy would let me for a moment believe she is capable of the thing’s she’s accused of.
‘It is the most out-of-character accusation that you could ever put against Lucy.
‘Think of your most kind, gentle, soft friend and think that they’re being accused of harming babies.’
She also accused police of ‘trying to build a case, to find someone culpable to find someone to blame’ as she maintained Letby’s innocence.
Conspiracists who believe Letby was wrongly convicted have now launched a campaign to set her free.
For most of a Letby’s trial, Mrs Cox sat beside the killer’s parents, John, 77, and Susan, 63, in the public gallery of Court 7 at Manchester Crown Court
Sarrita Adams, a US scientific consultant who has been following the trial, will shortly launch a fundraiser that seeks to overturn what she has branded ‘the greatest miscarriage of justice that the UK has ever witnessed’.
In his sentencing remarks, Mr Justice Goss said colleagues at the Countess of Chester Hospital were forced to ‘think the unthinkable’ when they realised that Letby was deliberately hurting babies.
Police searches of Letby’s home uncovered grim mementoes of her victims: mountains of handover notes swiped from the hospital, a diary marking the dates that babies died, a Post-It note that read: ‘I am evil, I did this’.
Mr Justice Goss said: ‘I am satisfied you started to keep these documents after those initial offences in June 2015 as morbid records of the dreadful events surrounding the collapses of your victims and what you had done to them.
‘Some of your victims were only a day or a few days old. All were extremely vulnerable.
‘By their nature and number, such murders and attempted murders by a neonatal nurse entrusted to care for them are offences of very exceptional seriousness.
‘This was a cruel, calculated and cynical campaign of child murder involving the smallest and most vulnerable of children, knowing that your actions were causing significant physical suffering and would cause untold mental suffering.
‘You have shown no remorse. There are no mitigating factors.’