A British nurse, Lucy Letby, has been found guilty of the murder of seven newborn babies and the attempted murder of six others at the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital in northwest England. The case marks her as the UK’s most prolific child killer.
After a trial that lasted since October of last year, the 33-year-old nurse was accused of employing various methods to harm her young victims, including injecting air, overfeeding them milk, and poisoning them with insulin. The jury at Manchester Crown Court reached their decisions after 22 days of deliberation.
Colleagues raised concerns after noticing a pattern where Letby was on duty when each of the infants fell critically ill. Some of the attacks occurred right after parents left their cots, further raising suspicions. Prosecutor Nick Johnson described how Letby “gaslighted” her colleagues into believing these deaths were just unfortunate coincidences.
Letby’s final victims were two triplet boys, referred to as babies O and P in court. Child O passed away shortly after Letby’s return from a vacation in Ibiza, while child P died the following day. Although she attempted to kill the third triplet, child Q, the jury couldn’t reach a verdict on that charge.
Letby’s arrest came after a series of baby deaths at the neonatal unit between June 2015 and June 2016. Described as a “calculating” woman who used methods that left minimal evidence, Letby had consistently denied harming the children. The Senior Crown Prosecutor Pascale Jones referred to her actions as “a complete betrayal of the trust placed in her.”
This harrowing case evokes memories of infamous medical murderers in Britain’s history, including doctor Harold Shipman and nurse Beverley Allitt. Shipman, who was a general practitioner, was found to have killed approximately 250 patients with lethal morphine injections between 1971 and 1998. Nurse Beverley Allitt, dubbed the “angel of death,” was convicted in 1993 of murdering four young children in her care.
As Lucy Letby awaits sentencing, the case continues to highlight the vulnerability of the youngest patients and the crucial importance of maintaining a safe and secure environment in medical facilities for them and their families.