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18 Aug, 2023 20:50

Baby-killing nurse convicted in UK

Lucy Letby will likely spend the rest of her life in prison for the murder of seven infants
Baby-killing nurse convicted in UK

A British nurse has been found guilty of the murder of seven newborn babies and the attempted murder of another six during her time at a neonatal unit near Liverpool. Police are currently investigating whether Lucy Letby harmed any other infants during her time at the hospital.

The verdict, which came on Friday after a ten-month trial, makes Letby the most prolific child killer in modern British history, Reuters reported. 

Letby, 33, worked as a neonatal nurse at the Countess of Chester Hospital between 2015 and 2016, when doctors reported a string of unexplained deaths and injuries among newborn and premature babies. Hospital management dismissed these reports, but a police investigation was launched and Letby was arrested in 2018. 

A search of Letby’s home revealed handwritten notes in which she confessed to murdering the babies. "I am a horrible evil person," she wrote in one note, "I AM EVIL I DID THIS." Parents came forward and told investigators how they walked in on Letby attacking infants at the hospital, with Letby responding “trust me, I’m a nurse” in one case.

Among Letby’s victims were two identical brothers from a set of triplets and a premature baby weighing less than 1kg. Some of her victims were poisoned with insulin, another was force-fed milk, and others were injected with air. During one bout of attacks in 2016, Letby attempted to kill a baby boy, went on a holiday to Ibiza with a fellow nurse the following day, and killed the two triplet brothers on her first day back at work after the trip.

Some of those who survived were left permanently disabled. One girl who survived three murder attempts after she was born 15 weeks early now has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and requires 24-hour care. 

Prosecutors described Letby as “persistent, calculated and cold-blooded.” She "did her utmost to conceal her crimes, by varying the ways in which she repeatedly harmed babies in her care,” Senior Crown Prosecutor Pascale Jones argued in court, adding that she "sought to deceive her colleagues and pass off the harm she caused as nothing more than a worsening of each baby's existing vulnerability.”

Jurors heard how Letby would tend to the same babies she injured, and would send sympathy cards to the grieving parents of those she killed. 

Letby was accused of a further six attempted murders, on which the jury could not agree on a verdict. She was not present at Manchester Crown Court as Friday’s verdict was handed down, and has reportedly refused to attend the courtroom on Monday when she is expected to receive a life sentence.