A British nurse, who wrote a note stating “I am evil”, has been found guilty of murdering seven newborn babies and trying to kill another six in the neonatal unit of a hospital in northwest England where she worked.
Lucy Letby, 33, was convicted on Friday of killing five baby boys and two baby girls at the Countess of Chester hospital and attacking other newborns, often while she was working night shifts, in 2015 and 2016.
The verdict, following a 10-month trial at Manchester Crown Court, makes Letby one of Britain’s most prolific serial child killers.
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She was found not guilty of two attempted murders, while the jury was unable to agree on six other suspected attacks.
Prosecutors told the jury during the trial that Letby poisoned some of her infant victims by injecting them with insulin, while others were injected with air or force-fed milk, sometimes involving multiple attacks before they died.
“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”.
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Some of those she attacked were twins – in one case she murdered both siblings.
“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 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.”
Letby will be sentenced on Monday and faces a very long prison term, and possibly a rare life sentence.
UK nurse Lucy Letby has been found guilty of murdering seven babies. Credit: Supplied
Her actions came to light when senior doctors became concerned by the number of unexplained deaths and collapses at the neonatal unit, where premature or sick babies are treated, over 18 months from January 2015.
With doctors unable to find a medical reason, police were called in.
After a lengthy investigation Letby was pinpointed as the “constant malevolent presence when things took a turn for the worse”, said prosecutor Nick Johnson.
The jury was told how Letby had tried on four occasions to murder one baby girl before she finally succeeded, while when another of the victim’s mothers walked in on her attacking her twin babies, she said to her: “Trust me, I’m a nurse”.
Lucy Letby (centre) has been found guilty of killing seven babies and trying to kill six others. Credit: AP
Letby wept when she gave evidence over 14 days, saying she had never tried to hurt the babies and had only ever wanted to care for them, saying there had been unsafe staffing levels on the ward and its dirty conditions might have been a factor in the deaths.
She claimed four doctors had conspired to pin the blame on her for the unit’s failings.
Letby told the jury she had written the “I am evil” message because she had felt overwhelmed and she had felt she was somehow incompetent or had done something wrong.
Letby’s handwritten note saying, ‘I am evil I did this’, was found by police. Credit: Crown Prosecution Service via BBC
The prosecution said she was a cold, cruel, calculating liar who had repeatedly changed her account of events and her notes should be treated as a confession.
Police are carrying out further investigations into all the time Letby had worked as a nurse at the hospital and at another one in Liverpool where she had trained, to identify if there were any more victims.
The British government has ordered an independent inquiry into the matter, including how concerns raised by clinicians about Letby were dealt with.
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