Neonatal nurse Lucy Letby, 33, was found guilty of killing premature newborns in a hospital.
The NHS neonatal nurse, 33, who will likely spend the rest of her life in prison, preyed on infants small enough to fit in the palm of her hand by injecting air into their bloodstreams or feeding tubes, causing them to collapse and die.
As a result, she became the most prolific child killer in modern British history, killing seven premature babies and attempting to kill six more.
Letby sobbed in court as the first guilty decision was announced.
She attacked twins and killed two boys out of a set of identical triplets within 24 hours of one another, with the third only surviving because his parents asked another hospital to take him away.
A sequence of heartbreaking tears from her mother were heard even after she had left the court.
She exclaimed, “You can’t be serious,” at one point.
This is inexcusable.
After each of her murders, Letby appeared “animated and excited,” offering to dress, bathe, and take pictures of her victims’ bodies.
She later declined to return to the dock to hear the final verdicts, with the judge stating that he had no power to compel her to do so.
Although her motivation is yet unknown, the prosecution claimed she enjoyed “playing God” for its “thrill.”
Additionally, they claimed she had been attempting to win over a married doctor.
Police discovered a Post-it note inside Letby’s disorganized, childlike home with the words “I am evil, I did this” scrawled on it.
In one instance, a senior nurse on duty had to repeatedly order Letby out of a room where a mourning couple was spending their final moments with their infant boy.
The father claimed that Letby entered with a ventilated basket and informed the family that they had said their goodbyes.
Would you like me to bring him in?The nurse, a ‘goofy’, ‘innocent’ young woman with Disney cuddly toys on her bed, found various ways to inflict indescribable, inhuman levels of pain, with some of her victims breaking into tortured screams that skilled pediatricians had never heard before.
She was able to get away with her murderous rampage despite consultants regularly trying to alert supervisors to the string of fatalities that occurred under her watch.
Several of them needed time off of work to recover from the trauma.
The nurses who responded to Dr. Ravi Jayaram’s email alerting them about Letby with the phrase “It’s unlikely that anything is going on, we’ll see what happens” made him feel “fobbed off,” the TV doctor who appears on This Morning claimed.
A public investigation into how Letby was allowed to kill and maim kids for so long has been demanded by the families of the babies who were killed and injured.
Until the police visited them up to three years later, none of the parents knew their children had been the victims of child abuse.
The care of all infants admitted to the neonatal departments of the Countess of Chester Hospital and Liverpool Women’s Hospital, where Letby also had two training stints in 2012 and 2015, is currently being reviewed by police.
Then they will determine if any cases require further investigation.
Letby shoved wire or hard plastic tubes down the throats of many infants to attack them.
Experts compared one victim’s perforated liver to the horrific damage only seen in car accident victims.
Like her colleague Beverley Allitt, who was found guilty of killing four infants at two hospitals in Lincolnshire, Letby employed insulin as one of her attack strategies.
It was also alleged that on one occasion Letby killed a tiny, ten-week premature baby boy because she was enraged that a friend she was texting did not understand why she was upset about being given a break from working in intensive care after the death of another baby.
In several of the cases, it was alleged Letby attacked the babies because she wanted a married pediatrician, whom she claimed was just a close friend but was suspected of having an affair with, to be with her.
Leading criminologist Professor David Wilson told the Mail that Letby’s need to be recognized at work was a sign of his narcissism and “hero complex.”
He claimed that putting herself in the center of a crisis was another sign of Munchausen’s disease.
Many of the survivors required many resuscitations.
Tragically, even among the survivors, there are youngsters who will require 24-hour care for the rest of their lives.
At least two of them ‘dead’ for up to 30 minutes before being miraculously revived by the expertise of her colleagues.
The Manchester Crown Court was told that doctors repeatedly went to hospital managers to blow the whistle, but it wasn’t until the deaths of two identical triplets in 23 hours in June 2016 that she was finally removed from the ward and the unexpected deaths and collapses stopped.
Sources close to the investigation told the Mail that an independent inquiry was needed to determine how Letby was allowed to get away with her crimes for so long.
Hospital administrators originally declined to remove her from the facility, even though pediatricians expressed their concerns about her behavior.
When they did, they decided to give her a desk position in the patient safety division.
When Letby was detained in July 2018, it is believed she was put on administrative leave; however, she continued to receive full pay and her projected yearly income of £30,000, or a total of almost £75,000, until she was fired when she was charged in November 2020.
One of Letby’s victims was crying “relentlessly, almost constantly, and with no fluctuation,” according to a nurse working on the ward.
One baby bled so forcefully and for so long during a failed resuscitation process that the paediatrician trying to save his life had to take time off work to recover from the trauma.
Letby, who joined her coworkers on work social events, committed her first murder the day after returning from a hen do in York.
Letby tried to stop her from issuing a crash call by saying: “She just needs to settle.”
She also made a big impression both before and after a vacation to Ibiza, informing coworkers she was “back with a bang.”
She was eventually removed, and she and her parents took a vacation to Torquay.
The majority of the time, Letby decided to inject babies with air while her colleagues’ backs were turned or they had briefly stepped out to take care of another baby.
She made them endure the anguish of attending every day of her trial and then watching her conviction.
Her method of operation would fluctuate depending on the opportunities she could create for herself.
Tragically, she discovered what police discovered while looking into her long list of crimes: that it only takes a very short amount of time and a very small amount of movement to seriously harm a premature baby.
She targeted one set of triplets, killing two of the three identical brothers within a 24-hour period.
Investigators think the triplet who survived would likewise have perished at her hands if he hadn’t been sent to a different hospital as a result of a female pediatrician’s request.
Colleagues from the higher level Arrowe Park Hospital were called in to collect Baby P, but when he died the Chester doctor joined his parents in asking their lead consultant, Oliver Rackham, to take the surviving baby instead.
The medic, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had no wiggle room after witnessing the bizarre, bewildering deaths of Baby O and Baby P twenty-four hours apart.
The baby’s father was standing next to him, sobbing and pleading with the doctor to please take him, the doctor testified in court.
“The baby’s dad was standing next to him, sobbing and literally beseeching Dr Rackham to please take him,” she said.
“And even though I didn’t beg, and to put it politely, I just wanted him to leave too because that was the only way he was going to live,” she continued.
In response to questions posed by Letby’s attorney, Ben Myers KC, she said that she believed the infant was in “mortal danger” from the nurse.
“What had happened to those two babies was not normal from a medical point of view,” she said.
I wanted to talk to my coworkers because I was having doubts, and I just genuinely expressed how I was feeling.
Nothing has been dramatized by me.
It’s already tragic enough. Letby attacked so regularly and seemed to do it carelessly that she sometimes had trouble remembering the name of her victim.
To assist her remember, she took home a large number of private medical records, not because she loved to collect paper as she claimed, but rather as a trophy to help her identify a murder.
Her 2016 diary, which is a little girl’s affair with a ‘cute’ doggie picture on the front cover and flower doodles inside, shows she was constantly busy.
There were references to the long shifts she liked to work because she was a nurse, and most of her coworkers innocently counted her as a trusted friend and confidante.
This may have contributed to her ability to go undetected for so long.
The top investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Paul Hughes, called Letby a “monster.”
But when asked if she could have killed as many people as Harold Shipman, the homicidal doctor suspected of killing more than 250 of his patients, he replied, “There are lots of cases to be reviewed, but I wouldn’t say so.”
Amelia Dyer was a Victorian baby farmer who is thought to have killed hundreds of infants while in her care over the course of a 30-year period.
Detectives are likely to review the birth records of babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital, where Letby is already known to have attacked babies in the year from June 2015 to June 2016.
Letby started working there after receiving her nursing degree from Chester University.
The court heard suspicions were first raised about Letby when three babies died while being cared for at the hospital.
The case against Letby rested on the medical evidence, which ultimately captured her.
Almost no research has ever been done on air embolus because injecting a bubble of air into the bloodstream of any patient, let alone a premature baby, is highly unethical, according to consultant pediatricians Dr. Dewi Evans and Dr. Sandie Bohin.
They repeatedly suggested that the children had been given air injections, either into their blood or down feeding tubes into their stomachs.
They claimed it was nearly hard to predict how much air would be required to stop the heart and prevent blood flow to crucial organs.
However, scientists calculated that just 5ml, or a teaspoon, of air would be enough to cause death in such helpless premature babies.
Letby wasn’t actually detained until police were summoned.
Letby’s mother was distraught and even yelled at the police, “I did it, take me instead,” in an attempt to protect her daughter.
Officers’ investigations led them to the conclusion that two baby boys, from different sets of twins, had been “deliberately” poisoned with insulin eight months apart.
Both the triplets Baby O and Baby P were murdered after four pediatricians voiced their concerns about the connection between the nurse’s presence and the deaths they had already witnessed.
And even when the lead consultant, Stephen Brearey, returned to management in the hours following Baby P’s death on June 24, 2016, his request to have Letby taken off the naloxone list was denied.
Over the course of a year, she killed two girls and five boys at the Countess, frequently striking at night when fewer staff members were on duty or when the parents of the victims had grudgingly left their children’s bedsides to obtain some food or sleep.
The court heard that Letby appeared animated and happy after killing the newborns and offered to clean, clothe, and take pictures of the dead babies for their distressed and unknowing parents.
It was an added bonus if she could ‘help’ bereaved parents by preparing a memory box for them with hand and foot prints of their lost baby, a picture of two dead twins laid out in a Moses basket, and a condolence card for another baby in time for the funeral.
Calculating Letby covered her tracks by altering handwritten nursing charts or making fake condolence cards for other babies in time for the funeral.
When doctors became suspicious, she even tampered with the care of a baby who was not involved in the case so she could make a false formal complaint to bosses and give herself a “insurance policy.”
She also gas-lighted her coworkers by pretending to be upset when babies died or offering medical explanations for their collapse or death to deflect blame from her murderous acts.
Officers also found a “confession” hidden in a 2016 diary where she called herself “evil” and wrote, “I am awful, I did this.”
Photos of sympathy cards she sent to the parents of a three-month-old baby girl she killed and a thank-you card she received from another set of twin boys she killed were also discovered by investigators on her mobile phone years after the babies died.
Although her motivation is still unknown, the prosecution suggests that she was motivated by jealousy.
Police and specialists think she benefited from “playing God” with the lives of the helpless babies, taking pleasure in the drama and attention their collapses brought to the newborn unit.
In her defense, Letby insisted that many of the infants had been born on the “cliff-edge” of life because of their extreme prematurity.
She also claimed that a “gang of four” senior consultants at the hospital “apportioned blame” on her in order to hide the hospital’s failings.
She also blamed her colleagues’ subpar medical care, understaffing, and filthy conditions on the unit for the infants’ deaths and collapses.
Munchausen’s syndrome: What is it? Professor David Wilson, a criminologist, saw Letby’s tendency to center herself amid a crisis and concluded that this was a sign of Munchausen’s condition.
Munchausen’s syndrome is named after a German aristocrat, Baron Munchausen, who rose to fame for telling fantastical tales about his exploits.
Munchausen’s syndrome is a complex and poorly understood psychological disorder in which a person fabricates illness, injury, abuse, or psychological trauma in order to receive care and attention.
It is unclear why individuals with the syndrome behave in the manner they do because many people reject receiving psychiatric treatment or psychological profiling.
The chart, which featured a long column of “xs” beneath Letby’s name to indicate that she was the only one on duty for each of the 25 incidences, was displayed to the jury during the trial and highlighted the 38 nurses who worked on the unit.
Statistics also showed that once Letby was moved into an administrative capacity in July 2016, the number of deaths on the unit returned to “normal” or average levels.
In contrast, no other nurse was present on more than seven instances.
Whereas four babies died in the Countess’s neonatal unit in 2013 and in 2014, the number of deaths more than doubled to nine in 2015 and eight babies died in 2016.
By comparison, the number of deaths fell back to four in 2017 and reduced even further to two in 2018 after Letby was removed from the ward.
None of the parents had any idea their children had been the victims of foul play until they were visited by police up to three years later.
Mr Justice Goss warned Letby he was considering a full life tariff when she is sentenced.
Mr Hughes said he was ‘very happy’ for the parents of Letby’s victims that justice had been done.
But he added: ‘The only thing that would make me happier is if Lucy Letby would tell them why, and reveal some motive for what she’s done because that’s the only time they will really be able to understand.
‘The phrase, ”it’s every parent’s worst nightmare…’ is often thrown around, but this really is every parent’s worst nightmare.”
Monster, it fits her, because I can’t think of anything worse.
But because she benefits from her reputation and makes a living off of it, I don’t want to make today about her.
This day is about the parents and giving them a foundation to try and move on,’ said Mr. Blackwell, who also dismissed claims that more charges would be brought in the future.
‘I am confident in our investigation to date, but we need to satisfy ourselves and the public and any future families that nothing has been missed,’ he said.
“We would support and assist any additional research and any necessary lessons.”
He said it would be ‘understandable’ if some of the families of Letby’s victims were upset that the hospital did not take action and remove her from frontline nursing sooner, and he added that the police would support any further inquiries.
“But that’s for another day and another decision maker in the appropriate Government or authority position,” he said.
Detective who spoke with Letby says she was “cool and devoid of emotion” Letby was “cool” and “devoid of emotion” when talking about the murder of babies in her care, the police officer who spoke with her told the Mail today.
Detective Sergeant Danielle Stonier said questioning Britain’s most prolific child killer was “surreal” and “intense” at times.
And she said that she believed the evidence against Letby.
Mr. Blackwell agreed that what Letby had done was “beyond these defenseless premature babies, who are days or weeks old and unable to protect themselves, are the most vulnerable members of our society, the man stated.
One father, whose twin sons were attacked but survived, said: “The (hospital) management, they need to be held accountable. It is beyond comprehension and pure evil.”
The doctors voiced their worries, but instead of acting on them, they were rejected.
If they (hospital chiefs) had followed through on their first suspicions, they undoubtedly could have averted any further infant attacks.
It would have avoided numerous fatalities.
He also expressed his hope that Letby would receive a life sentence and never be released from prison.
Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Evans, the deputy senior investigating officer, said: ‘I hope today’s verdict provides some of the answers to the families and goes some way to providing peace of mind as to what happened to their babies.
It’s unimaginable what they are going through, the courage and strength they’ve shown is really overwhelming.
‘Lucy Letby was operating in plain sight, she abused the trust of the people around her, not just the parents, but also the nurses she worked with and regarded as friends.’
She violated their trust, in their unit, in their profession and ultimately that’s been laid out for everybody to see.’
How Letby’s close friend broke down in tears as she recalled feeling the final heartbeat of her first victim
One of Lucy Letby’s closest friends broke down during the trial as she recalled feeling the final heartbeat of the killer’s first victim.
The nurse, who had mentored Letby from her days as a student, was giving chest compressions to Baby A as a team of medics fought desperately to save his life in June, 2015.
But unknown to her, the colleague she had worked alongside for more than three years had furtively injected the infant with air.Nurse A was shift leader on the unit when Baby A suddenly collapsed.
She was assigned the task of reaching into the incubator to apply mild chest compressions while a paediatrician gave each patient a modest amount of adrenaline while the medical staff gathered around.
Everyone participating in the resuscitation waited for a reaction after each dose before realizing they could no longer assist the patient.
The nurse sobbed, “There was nothing.”
Nurse A told the jury that she had never seen a neonate appear the way Baby A did that day.
“He looked very ill,” she said, choosing to speak to the jury from behind a screen rather than directly across from the woman in the glass-paneled dock.
He had a pattern of discoloration I’ve never seen before.
He had white skin that with faint purple spots.
He had cyanotic eyes.
When asked just where on his body, she said, “Everywhere.
It was these purple blotches with white that I’d never seen before.
Maybe there was more torso, but I’m not sure.
It had come on really suddenly, and I just knew it was incredibly weird.
Nearly three months later, the same nurse seems to have almost found an explanation for the first three murders.
In a WhatsApp conversation with Letby about the death of Baby D, she said: “There’s something odd about that night and the other 3 that went so suddenly.”
Letby asked her what she meant.
Then she withdrew, saying, “Nurse A: “Odd that we lost 3 and under various conditions.”
A short while after, she wrote, “Ignore me.”
“I’m making a guess.”