Jurors will be offered trauma counseling after facing recurring nightmares, insomnia and PTSD after harrowing trials like Lucy Letby and Logan Mwangi

Jurors will be offered trauma counseling after hearing disturbing trials like those of Lucy Letby and Logan Mwangi – as more than half say they are left with recurring nightmares, insomnia and PTSD long after delivered their verdict.

While judges are often offered counseling after painful trials, jurors are traditionally left to their own devices.

Those who feel affected by what they have seen and heard are currently referred to a GP or the Samaritans – a limited resource which the Ministry of Justice says can leave some feeling isolated.

But a pilot project to offer jurors six free counseling sessions and a 24/7 helpline at 15 courts in England and Wales was announced by ministers this week.

The program will run for ten months from this summer, aiming to help jurors hearing distressing cases such as that of serial child killer Lucy Letby.

Lucy Letby (pictured) was found guilty of murdering six babies and attempting to murder seven others during a trial last year. Jurors in the case were not given counseling after the case closed
Jurors hearing the case of Logan Mwangi, 5, were told the boy was found with “serious injuries”, often seen in victims of “high-speed car crashes”.
Pictured: Logan’s mother Angharad Williamson, 31
Pictured: Logan’s stepfather John Cole, 40
Pictured: Craig Mulligan, 14

Jurors in the Letby trial – a nine-month ordeal in which the nurse was ultimately convicted of murdering six babies and attempting to murder seven others – were given no advice, although their ” distress” has been recognized by the government.

Jurors were sworn to secrecy about their deliberations, how they reached a verdict and how they voted.

However, jurors are allowed to talk about what they experienced in the courtroom and how the case impacted them, even after its conclusion.

A juror who took part in the murder trial of five-year-old Logan Mwangi said she was so traumatized by the evidence presented that she was off work for more than a month afterwards.

Psychologist Joselyn Sellen said she suffered recurring nightmares after the trial, which had to be halted several times after jurors found the evidence too distressing.

Five-year-old Logan was murdered by his mother, stepfather and a 14-year-old boy in July 2021.

The trial heard the little boy died after suffering a “brutal and sustained” attack at his home which left him with “catastrophic” injuries comparable to those seen in road accidents.

His body was then dumped like “flying trash” into the Ogmore River, just 250 meters from his home in Sarn.

Dr. Sellen – one of 12 jurors in the case – said the hardest evidence to hear came from a pediatrician who described Logan’s agonizing final hours.

“It was incredibly difficult,” she told the BBC.

“Because your imagination will take you to some very dark places when you hear this kind of evidence.

“It’s very, very painful… you keep thinking about what was happening to that child and how he must have suffered.”

Dr. Sellen said she will never forget the body camera footage of Logan’s body being discovered by police.

“Even though it was blurry, you absolutely felt the emotion of the moment when someone sees the body of a child in the river for the first time…even though it was blurry, you could see very clearly” , she explained.

Logan was found to have suffered 56 “catastrophic” injuries before his death, including severe bruising to the back of his head and tears to his liver and intestines.

To show the jury the injuries, the court used computer-generated images, for which Dr. Sellen said he was grateful.

Logan’s stepfather John Cole, 40, his mother Angharad Williamson, 31, and Craig Mulligan, 14, were convicted and given long sentences over his death.

However, Dr. Sellen said the evidence presented to him – as well as the weight of responsibility in securing verdicts for the defendants – had devastated his life outside the courtroom.

She described experiencing recurring nightmares, intrusive thoughts, overreactions and difficulty falling asleep at night as well as inconsolable crying attacks.

“I felt like my normal life was completely hijacked,” she told the BBC.

“It completely took over my life… (I was) completely traumatized.”

After the case, even something as simple as hearing children laughing could be a trigger for Dr. Sellen: “My thoughts would go straight back to the case.

I was like, “How did it go for Logan?” Did he laugh sometimes? What happened when he cried?’

A study due to be published later this month by Manchester Metropolitan University showed that 50% of jurors show signs of post-trial trauma, including nightmares, intrusive thoughts and sleep disturbances.

The study also found a fourfold increase in signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among jurors who had been exposed to murder evidence, even for a short time.

The study found there were “significant mental health implications” related to viewing skeletal remains or witnessing distressing oral and visual evidence.

Jury service can also exacerbate jurors’ existing mental health issues, giving those who have already experienced trauma an even higher likelihood of developing PTSD.

In extremely traumatic cases, some juries may be excused from serving on another jury for life.

Jurors who heard the tragic case of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes (pictured) have been excused from jury duty for the rest of their lives after hearing weeks of harrowing evidence.
Jurors heard Arthur was tortured by Thomas Hughes (pictured) and Emma Tustin before dying from head trauma.
Pictured: Emma Tustin, 32
Pictured: Thomas Hughes, 29

After finding a father and his partner guilty of murdering their six-year-old son, a jury asked for a minute’s silence, which they were granted.

The jurors had passed weeks of hearing harrowing testimony regarding the brutal murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, who was tortured by Thomas Hughes and Emma Tustin before dying from a head injury.

The jury heard how the little boy was force-fed salty meals, kept isolated at home, starved, dehydrated and regularly beaten by his father and stepmother.

On one occasion he was forced to “stand like a statue” by the front door of the Tustin home for hours, while on another occasion his father cut off two of his Birmingham shirts City as punishment.

Arthur was ultimately murdered in 2020 while in Tustin’s custody, after she shook him and smashed his head on a hard surface.

After taking six hours and 15 minutes to reach their verdict, the jury was excused from jury duty for the rest of their lives.

Throughout the trial, they were forced to listen to hours and hours of audio and video footage from the last weeks of Arthur’s life, including CCTV footage from a camera installed in the living room on the morning of his death.

The video showed the little boy appearing to limp and cry as he struggled to fold a quilt he had been given to sleep on downstairs.

In one audio clip, Arthur could be heard shouting “no one loves me”, repeating the phrase four times, while in another he shouted “no one will feed me” seven times.

Arthur was “barely able to articulate his words” and could no longer support his own weight at the time of his murder.

Dr Hannah Fawcett, senior lecturer in forensic psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, welcomed the new jury counseling programme, describing it as “a positive first step in recognizing some of the potential psychological challenges associated with participation in jury duty and supporting those who have been affected by distressing cases.”

Justice Minister Mike Freer said: “Juries are the cornerstone of the criminal justice system, and attending a trial is rightly seen as the ultimate responsibility of an honest, law-abiding citizen.

“This pilot project is an important step in evaluating how we can best support jurors, who perform such a vital civic duty, often in complex and high-profile cases.”