FAMILIES directly involved in the case of Chester healthcare worker Lucy Letby would not need to travel to Manchester to watch proceedings in her trial, a judge has said today.

A further case management hearing for Letby, 31, was held at Manchester Crown Court on Monday, May 10, to discuss a number of matters in relation to the case.

Letby is charged with eight counts of murder and 10 charges with attempted murder, in connection with the deaths of babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

The 18 charges relate to the period of between June 2015 and 2016.

Letby is yet to enter a plea in relation to the charges, and was not asked to do so on Monday's hearing, heard before the judge, Mr Justice Ian Dove.

Letby, of Arran Avenue, Hereford, appeared via videolink from HMP Peterborough, wearing a dark-coloured jumper, and spoke only to confirm her name.

Justice Dove said in the event of a trial, should Letby plead not guilty to the charges, there would be the facility for those with a legitimate reason to watch the trial remotely.

That would mean families involved in the case would be able to watch the trial unfold from a remote videolink, rather than having to travel to Manchester Crown Court, where the trial is currently scheduled to be held.

A provisional trial date of January 2022, as set in Letby's previous court hearing, may be put back due to the complexity of the case, the court heard.

Justice Dove said, however, he did not wish to vacate the current trial date until he had a timetable of case management which the prosecution, represented by Nicholas Johnson QC, and defence, represented by Benjamin Myers QC, could serve on him.

A hearing will be held on Monday, May 17 for an agreed timetable to be put forward.

Justice Dove added while Letby would not need to enter a plea today, it would be necessary for her to be arraigned "in the relatively near future."

He said: "We can't allow that important stage to drift indefinitely."

Letby was remanded in custody.