A British nurse is due to be sentenced on Monday, after her conviction last week for the murders of seven babies and attempted murders of six others at the UK hospital where she worked.
Lucy Letby, 33, was found guilty by a jury at Manchester Crown Court in northern England in a case that horrified the country and made her the most prolific child serial killer of recent times.
Letby attacked babies in her care by administering air into their blood and stomachs, overfeeding them with milk, physically assaulting them and poisoning them with insulin, the court heard on Friday.
The allegations against Letby and her subsequent conviction triggered a government inquiry amid questions over how she was able to escape detection for so long.
She secretly assaulted 13 babies on the neonatal ward at the Countess of Chester hospital between 2015 and 2016, Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said in a statement on Friday.
Prosecutors argued that Letby’s intention was to kill the babies while duping her colleagues into believing there was a natural cause of death.
The court in Manchester heard harrowing testimony during the trial from parents of the victims, including in one case where Letby had tried to kill a baby boy after murdering his twin brother.
The mother of Child E and Child F said she “completely” trusted Letby’s advice, while giving evidence to the court.
However, she said she “knew there was something wrong” when her baby, Child E, started screaming in the intensive care unit one night.
It emerged that before Letby murdered Child E, he started bleeding when she tried to assault him. That baby’s twin brother, Child F, later survived an attempt by Letby to kill him by insulin poisoning. And it was revealed that police had found a series of handwritten notes by Letby, including one that read: “I am evil I did this.”
In 2018 and 2019, Letby was arrested twice by police in connection with their investigation, PA said. She was arrested again in November 2020.
Authorities found the notes Letby had written during searches of her address.
“I don’t deserve to live. I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them,” she wrote in one memo, adding in another, “I am a horrible evil person” and in capital letters, “I am evil I did this.”
The UK government issued an independent inquiry into the murders on Friday, including how regulators and Britain’s National Health Service dealt with the concerns raised by consultants.
Doctors at the hospital noticed a spike in the number of babies who were dying or unexpectedly collapsing in the neonatal unit, the court in Manchester heard.
But the hospital’s management initially dismissed concerns raised by clinicians over the increased mortality rate of patients under Letby’s care, the UK’s PA Media news agency reported.
Lawyers for the victims’ families have said the inquiry was “not good enough” as it does not have powers to summon witnesses, PA said.
In 2016, Letby won a grievance complaint that she had filed against her employers after learning of their initial allegations.
She was scheduled to return to the neonatal department in March 2017, but her return did not take place. The hospital trust contacted the police, who opened an investigation.