British Nurse Found Guilty of Killing Seven Babies and Attempting to Kill Six Others
A 33-year-old neonatal nurse, Lucy Letby, has been convicted of murder in the deaths of seven babies and the attempted murder of six others. Letby worked at the Countess of Chester Hospital in the North West of England between 2015 and 2016 when the incidents occurred.
Letby faced charges for the deaths of five baby boys and two girls, as well as the attempted murder of five boys and five girls. Allegations against her included deliberately harming newborns by injecting air into their bloodstream and administering air or milk into their stomachs through nasogastric tubes. She was also accused of poisoning babies by adding insulin to intravenous feedings and interfering with breathing tubes.
During the trial that began in October last year, prosecutors highlighted a significant increase in the number of babies dying or experiencing sudden health declines in 2015 at the hospital. They claimed Letby was present during these cases, portraying her as a “constant malevolent presence” in the neonatal unit. Prosecutors argued that Letby harmed babies in ways that left no trace and managed to convince her colleagues that the collapses and deaths were normal.
The investigation into the deaths of the babies began in May 2017, and Letby was detained three times before being officially charged in November 2020. A crucial piece of evidence presented was a Post-It note found at Letby’s home, where she had written “I’m evil, I did this.” Prosecutors considered it a confession.
Letby’s defense attorney argued that she was a dedicated nurse who loved her job and that there was insufficient evidence to prove her guilt. The lawyer suggested that natural causes or other factors such as understaffing or inadequate care might have contributed to the deaths and collapses. The defense also claimed that four senior doctors blamed Letby to cover up failures in the neonatal unit.
Throughout the trial, Letby maintained her innocence, testifying for 14 days and denying all allegations of intentional harm. She claimed to have done her best to care for the babies and broke down in tears while defending the collection of medical records she kept at home.
Letby’s lawyer defended her anguished writings found in the notes as self-blame and loss of confidence. The defense argued that she wrote them for herself and not for the court or any other party involved in the case.
The jury deliberated for 22 days before reaching a verdict. Letby was found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others. However, she was found not guilty on one count of attempted murder, and the jury was unable to reach a verdict on several other charges.
Letby’s sentencing is yet to be determined.