- UK nurse guilty of murders from 2015-2016
- Prosecutors say she was a calculating killer
- Police looking at possible further attacks
A British nurse, who penned a note proclaiming “I am evil,” was declared guilty on Friday for the murder of seven newborn infants and the attempted murder of six others in the neonatal unit of a hospital in the northwest region of England where she was employed, Reuters reported.
Lucy Letby, aged 33, was convicted of the killings of five baby boys and two baby girls at the Countess of Chester hospital, in addition to assaults on other newborns, often carried out during her night shifts, spanning the years 2015 and 2016.
Following an extensive 10-month trial at Manchester Crown Court, this verdict establishes Letby as one of the most prolific serial child killers in Britain.
She was acquitted of two counts of attempted murder, while the jury remained deadlocked on six other suspected attacks.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors informed the jury that Letby had administered fatal doses of insulin to some of her infant victims, while others were subjected to injections of air or coerced feeding of milk, sometimes enduring multiple assaults prior to their tragic deaths.
“I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them,” said a handwritten note found by police officers who searched her home after she was arrested. “I am a horrible evil person,” she wrote. “I AM EVIL I DID THIS”.
Some of those she attacked were twins – in one case she murdered both siblings. She tried to kill one baby girl three times before finally succeeding on the fourth attempt.
“Lucy Letby was entrusted to protect some of the most vulnerable babies. Little did those working alongside her know that there was a murderer in their midst,” said Pascale Jones, a senior prosecutor from the Crown Prosecution Service.
“She did her utmost to conceal her crimes, by varying the ways in which she repeatedly harmed babies in her care.”
Evil in hospital
Letby is scheduled to receive her sentence on Monday, facing the prospect of a lengthy prison term, and potentially even an exceptionally rare full life sentence.
The revelation of her actions occurred when senior medical professionals grew alarmed by the unusual number of unexplained fatalities and incidents of collapse in the neonatal unit – a facility that provides care for premature or ailing infants – spanning an 18-month period starting in January 2015.
As medical experts grappled to identify a medical rationale, law enforcement was summoned for assistance. Following an extensive investigation, Letby, who had been involved in caring for the infants, emerged as the consistent “malevolent presence when circumstances turned dire,” stated prosecutor Nick Johnson.
Online images of Letby portrayed a cheerful and joyful individual with an active social life. In one snapshot, she was seen tenderly holding a baby. Nonetheless, the harrowing testimony during her trial uncovered her identity as a resolute perpetrator.
The court was informed of Letby’s four separate attempts to murder a specific infant girl before ultimately succeeding. When a mother of one victim walked in on Letby assaulting her twin babies, the nurse allegedly assured her by saying, “Trust me, I’m a nurse.”
Following her apprehension, investigators discovered documentation and medical notes referencing the affected children at her residence. Additionally, she conducted online searches concerning the parents and families of the deceased infants.
During her testimony spanning 14 days, Letby tearfully maintained that she had never intended harm towards the babies and had solely wished to provide them with care. She contended that insufficient staffing levels and unsanitary conditions in the ward could have played a role in the fatalities.
“I have never murdered a child or harmed any of them,” she declared. She further alleged that four doctors had conspired to shift blame onto her for the unit’s shortcomings.
Letby admitted to writing the “I am evil” message, explaining that she had felt overwhelmed and believed she was somehow inadequate or responsible for wrongdoing.
The prosecution painted her as a callous, calculating deceiver who had frequently altered her recollections and maintained that her notes should be regarded as a confession.
Detectives attested to finding nothing out of the ordinary in Letby’s life and were unable to discern any motive driving her transformation into a perpetrator.