A British nurse has been found guilty of the deaths of seven newborns and the attempted murders of six others. This verdict concludes a long and haunting case that has gripped England since 2016. Lucy Letby, 33, was accused of committing these crimes while working at the Countess of Chester Hospital in northwestern England between June 2015 and June 2016. After being found guilty, Letby is now considered to as the most prolific serial killer of children in modern British history. The trial, which began in October, revealed shocking details of how Letby harmed the babies in her care.
Prosecutors described the case as “horrifying” and alleged that Letby intended to kill the babies while disguising their deaths as natural causes. The guilty verdicts were met with gasps from the families of the victims present in court. Letby, who appeared earlier in the day but did not stay until the end, is expected to receive a “whole life order” during her sentencing on Monday. This means that she will likely spend the rest of her life in prison.
The investigation into Letby’s actions began in 2016 when an unusually high number of deaths occurred in the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit. An independent review conducted in 2017 found no definitive explanation for the increased mortality rates but highlighted staffing gaps, poor decision-making, and a lack of senior staff members as contributing factors.
The subsequent police inquiry, described as “like no other” in terms of its scope and complexity, involved 70 officers and civilian staff members. Over 32,000 documents were gathered, and approximately 2,000 people were interviewed. Letby’s arrest and charges came in 2020 after a criminal investigation focused on the deaths of 17 babies who passed away between March 2015 and July 2016.
During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Letby murdered her victims by injecting air and insulin into their bloodstreams, infusing air into their gastrointestinal tracts, and force-feeding them milk or fluids. Medical records with falsified notes made by Letby implicated her as the “one common denominator” in sudden health problems that led to the babies’ deaths.
The families of the victims expressed mixed emotions following the verdicts, acknowledging that justice had been served but recognizing the long-lasting emotional impact of the ordeal. The defense team attempted to shift blame onto the hospital’s suboptimal care and alleged a conspiracy by senior doctors, but the jury rejected these arguments.