Lucy Letby- Killer Nurse? Or Hospital Scapegoat?

3rd July 2018

28 year old British nurse Lucy Letby was arrested on suspicion of murdering eight newborns and trying to kill six others in the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital in Chester, in which she worked.

She had worked on the unit as a student nurse during three years of training before qualifying as a children’s nurse at The University of Chester in 2011.

Friends and co workers were said to be shocked by her arrest. They said she was devoted to the job and the infants in her care.
Jordan Sands,who Letby had met through his girlfriend, said “She was quite awkward and geeky but seemed like a kindhearted person.”

Countess of Chester Hospital in Chester

The hospital, that cared for 400 infants in its neonatal ward annually, noticed a sudden, unexplained mortality-rate spike in the special care unit.

Police were contacted by the hospital asking them to investigate in May 2007 when doctors couldn’t determine how they died, and wanted “unnatural causes of death” to be looked into.

Police statement 4th July 2018

Reports from the time claim the hospital had the highest rate of baby deaths in UK hospitals

At the start of 2017 a report from an investigation from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health  had been published stating staffing was “inadequate” and it found “significant gaps” in medical and nursing rotas, “poor decision-making” and “insufficient senior cover” but no “definitive explanation” was found for an increase in mortality rates at the hospital. Intensive care was stopped for babies born earlier than 32 weeks in July 2016 after 13 unexplained deaths between January 2015 and July 2016 and they remained suspended while investigations were on going. Women were sent to near by alternative.

The review said there was an “enthusiastic” group of paediatricians complemented by a “well-led and supportive” team of nurses.

There was “robust” training and “extremely positive” relationships amongst various teams in the neonatal unit, it added.

The hospital said that while “no single cause” had been found to explain the increase in neonatal deaths on the unit, the change to admissions would remain in place “until we are certain we have acted on all the recommendations in the review”.

This report has now been removed from the Countess of Chester Hospital page https://www.coch.nhs.uk/media/141843/rcpch_invited_review_nov_16_final_-for_dissemination-_08_02_17_1_30pm.pdf
but it is viewable via waybackmachine
https://web.archive.org/web/20170519024401/https://www.coch.nhs.uk/media/141843/rcpch_invited_review_nov_16_final_-for_dissemination-_08_02_17_1_30pm.pdf

You can read it here-

While the news broke of an arrest and house search on the 4th July 2018, Letby had not been identified by police but the media had named her and many people took to facebook to comment on the situation. Investigators also confirmed that a second hospital,  Liverpool Women’s Hospital where she worked during her training, were helping them. “There is currently no suggestion that any patients at Liverpool Women’s came to any harm in relation to this investigation.”



This was covered around the world, this article mentions her now deleted facebook.

From her since deleted facebook https://www.facebook.com/LucyLetby

Letby was also active in a £2 million fundraising campaign to build a new neo­natal unit at the hospital. During the campaign she stated to the local news reporter-

“I hope the new unit will provide a greater degree of privacy and space,”

Chester & District Standard 


The investigation had been ongoing for a year at the time police took her in for questioning and looked into not only deaths but “sudden mottling” on the arms, legs and chests of premature or poorly babies who unexpectedly deteriorated and had to be revived, and noted similar things happening with cases of babies who died. These marks had been noticed by other members of staff.

She was bailed, pending further inquiries on 7th July 2018 and still hadn’t been named by police.

10th June 2019

Police re arrest Lucy in connection with the attempted murders of three more babies, bringing the total to nine, based on further evidence that has been gathered. The made the statement that she was “helping officers with their enquiries”

“Due to the nature of this investigation it is extremely challenging but it is important to remember that it is very much active and ongoing – there are no set timescales and we remain committed to carrying out a thorough investigation as soon as possible.

We fully appreciate that it continues to have a big impact on all those involved – including the families of the babies, staff and patients at the hospital as well as members of the public.

Parents of all the babies are continuing to be kept fully updated and are being supported throughout the process by specially trained officers. 

This is an extremely difficult time for all the families and it is important to remember that, at the heart of this, there are a number of bereaved families seeking answers as to what happened to their children.

At this stage, we are unable to go into any further details about the investigation but as soon as we can provide any further updates we will do.”

Police press statement

10th November 2020
Lucy, now 30, is re arrested and charged with murdering 8 babies and 10 counts of attempted murder. The investigation was “extremely challenging” but “very much active and ongoing”, a force spokesman added.

October 2021

She appears by videolink from HMP Peterborough, where she was on remand, pleaded not guilty.

4th October 2022

Trial begins at Manchester Crown Court for 32 year old Lucy Letby and is expected to last six months. The first few days they are hoping to sort out on going issues and finalise the jury, who will have to be available until April 2023.

The defendant, wearing a dark suit, appeared in the dock as unreportable legal issues were aired. The hearing has been adjourned until Thursday 6ht October when legal argument is expected to take place.

Lucy is accused of murdering 5 boys, 2 girls and attempting to kill 10 (5 boys, 5 girls) other babies between 2015 and 2016.

She denies all 17 charges.

A court artist sketch of Lucy Letby

A court order prohibits reporting of the identities of surviving and deceased children allegedly attacked by Letby, and prohibits identifying the parents or witnesses connected with the children.

During this trial we will update with some evidence that comes out each day. For more discussion join our group

10th October 2022

Letby in court.BBC

In court today prosecutor, Nick Johnson KC, called Lucy a “constant malevolent presence” in the hospital’s neonatal unit. After describing the issues the hospital had been having with an alarming rate of sick babies- “Having searched for a cause, which they were unable to find, the consultants noticed that the inexplicable collapses and deaths did have one common denominator, the presence of one of the neonatal nurses and that nurse was Lucy Letby.”

It was also revealed insulin was used in the death of two children.

He described the “painstaking review” that had been conducted and some of it’s findings.

“Many of the events in this case occurred on the night shifts,” he said.

“When upon Lucy Letby was moved on to day shifts, the collapses and deaths moved to the day shifts.”

Sky News reported She is charged with attacking – and in some instances murdering – sets of twins, as well as attempting to murder the same children more than once.

Child A’s death was likely caused by an injection of air into either his umbilical venous catheter (UVC) or his long line.

Reporting restrictions mean none of the children involved can be named – so throughout the trial Sky News will be referring to them as Children A to Q. Today, six children were mentioned in court.

They are:

Child A & B: A twin boy and girl. Child A, the younger of the two, died on 8 June 2015. His elder sister was attacked 28 hours later on the night of 9/10 June, but she survived.

Child E & F: Twin boys, the eldest of whom (Child E) was allegedly poisoned with insulin in August 2015 and died. His younger twin (Child F) was also attacked but survived.

Child L & M: Twin boys. Child L was allegedly poisoned with insulin in April 2016 while Child M was later harmed by having air injected into his bloodstream

Sky News

Live Trial Updates

They added into evidence hospital paperwork regarding some of the babies found during a search of her home and that she had “tracked” families on Facebook

11th October 2022

An alleged killer nurse was interrupted by the mother of one of her victims who paid her baby boy a visit at the neonatal unit, a court has heard.-This article covers the cases covered today in court

The jury was told the mother interrupted Ms Letby, who was in the process of attacking child E, but she did not realise this. Child E’s mother found her son acutely distressed and bleeding from his mouth.

Ms Letby attempted to reassure the mother saying: “Trust me I’m a nurse.”

Ms Letby later made a record on the nursing notes which was not true and “designed to cover her tracks”, prosecutor Nick Johnson KC said…
….

The prosecution also told the court Ms Letby added insulin to child F’s feed.

This caused child F’s blood sugar to start to drop calamitously while Ms Letby was present and continued after she had gone.

Mr Johnson said: “Somebody poisoned him. No other baby on the neonatal unit was being prescribed insulin. Therefore it couldn’t have been negligence.

“You know who was in the room, and you know from the records who hung the [feed] bag.”

The court heard child F’s nutrients bag was replaced and he survived, but the medical team on the unit were concerned and ordered checks.

It was also claimed Ms Letby took a “very unusual interest” in the parents of the twins, searching for them repeatedly on Facebook, including on Christmas Day in 2015.

12th October 2022

Continuing the prosecution’s opening statement for a third day, Nick Johnson KC said the circumstances of the girl’s death were “an extreme example even by the standards of this case”.

“There were four separate occasions on which we allege Lucy Letby tried to kill her,” he said.

The child, referred to for legal reasons as Child I, was “resilient,” he said, “but ultimately at the fourth attempt, Lucy Letby succeeded in killing her”.

He said on the first occasion Ms Letby, of Hereford, had injected Child I with air.

On her second attempt, he said she had stood in the doorway of the girl’s darkened room and commented she looked pale.

The girl’s designated nurse then turned on the light and saw Child I was not breathing.

Following a third alleged attempt to kill her, Child I was again found to have excess air in her stomach, which had affected her breathing.

When Child I’s medical alarm went off following a fourth attempt, another nurse found Ms Letby next to the incubator, the jury was told.

The baby died that morning.

The court heard how in the immediate aftermath of Child I’s death her parents were taken to a private room and asked if the baby’s mother wanted to bathe her daughter.

As the mother did so, Ms Letby came in and, in the words of the mother, “was smiling and kept going on about how she was present at the baby’s first bath and how much the baby had loved it”.

Ms Letby later sent a sympathy card to the child’s parents and kept an image of the card on her phone.

Sympathy cards are not something nurses normally send and she claims it was her first time she did it.

BBC

She could not recall taking an interest in Child I’s parents on Facebook in the early hours of October 5 – a day off duty – and also making successive searches on the parents of other youngsters involved in the case. This was not the first child’s family she had looking into.

Manchester Crown Court heard Child E’s mother did not realise he was being attacked and was told by the nurse the blood from his mouth was due to a tube.

The nurse, of Hereford, is accused of murdering Child E and attempting to murder his twin, Child F, the following day.

Ms Letby attempted to reassure the mother saying: “Trust me I’m a nurse.”

Child K-

A CONSULTANT paediatrician at the Countess of Chester Hospital walked in on neonatal nurse Lucy Letby ‘trying to kill’ a 1lb 8oz baby that had been born only 97 minutes earlier, a court has heard.

13th October 2022

A shocking piece of evidence was submitted today, Lucy Letbys own notes found during the search of her home. In her own hand she had written things such as

 “I am evil, I did this” .. “I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough”
 “what allegations have been made and by who? Do they have written evidence to support their comments?”

BBC

As well as “many protestations of innocence,” prosecutor Nick Johnson KC told the jury. One said: “I haven’t done anything wrong and they have no evidence so why have I had to hide away?”

Outlining Ms Letby’s defence, Ben Myers KC, said “anyone with an ounce of human understanding” would see the notes as “the anguished outpouring of a young woman in fear and despair when she realises the enormity of what is being said about her”.

He said they also contained passages such as “I’ll never marry or have children” and “I haven’t done anything wrong”.

The notes showed “anguish not guilt”, he said.

Child P was from a set of triplets and died the day after she is said to have murdered his brother, Child O.

They planned to move the baby, a doctor was said to be “optimistic” about his prospects but then “all of a sudden Lucy Letby said to him something like ‘he’s not leaving alive here, is he?'”, Mr Johnson said.

Many of the sick babies starting getting better until Lucy was back on shift.

The prosecutor told jurors: “No doubt they were acutely aware that making such an allegation against a nurse was as serious as it gets.

“They did not, at the time, have the benefit of the evidence that you are going to hear and the decision was made by the hospital to remove Lucy Letby from a hands-on role.

“She was moved to clerical duties where she would not come into contact with children.”

14th October 2022

Daily Breakdown

The morning was spent showing the jury how to use their ipads for evidence and notes. They can not access the internet. The judge, Mr Justice Goss, says he is a ‘first-timer’ for using an iPad for a trial himself, adding it will save a lot of paperwork for the jury.

Lucy Letby’s defence has claimed there is ‘no evidence’ she is behind the deaths of seven babies.

Jurors at Manchester Crown Court were today told blame had been ‘heaped’ on the nurse and to consider that ‘coincidence’ may be at play.

 ‘This prosecution case is driven by the assumption that someone was doing deliberate harm, combined with the coincidence, on certain occasions, of Miss Letby’s presence.

‘The fact that Lucy Letby has been present at the time of the deterioration of a child has itself become the explanation of that deterioration, even though there’s no evidence to show she has caused that to happen.’

Ben Myers

Dr Evans who called himself an “independent medical witness, not an expert.” gave medical term explanations to the jury.

The case will resume on Monday, expected to open at the slightly later time of 11am.

This blog will be updated as the trial goes on.

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