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Court convicts female nurse for killing 7 newborn babies

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Court convicts female nurse for killing 7 newborn babies

In a landmark verdict, a British nurse, Lucy Letby, was found guilty on Friday of murdering seven newborn babies and attempting to kill six others in the neonatal unit of the hospital where she worked. This makes her the UK’s most prolific child killer.

Letby’s trial, which began in October last year, presented allegations of her injecting air into sick or premature babies, overfeeding them with milk, and poisoning them with insulin. The families of the victims expressed a sense of justice being served in a joint statement outside the Manchester Crown Court. However, they also acknowledged that the pain, anger, and distress they have endured will not be erased.

READ ALSO: Chorister arrested for allegedly killing 3 newborn babies

The jury, visibly emotional, deliberated for 22 days before delivering their guilty verdicts on August 8, which were only made public on Friday due to a court order. Letby, fighting back tears, heard the initial verdicts in the dock but was not present in court for the final determinations of the jurors.

While she was acquitted of two counts and the jury was unable to reach decisions on six others, prosecutors have requested 28 days to consider whether to seek a retrial on those charges. Letby faces the possibility of never being released from prison and will receive her sentencing on Monday. She has reportedly informed her lawyers that she will not attend court to hear her fate.

The arrest of Letby came following a series of deaths at the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and June 2016. Described as a “calculating” woman by the prosecution, Letby allegedly employed methods that left minimal traces. Throughout the trial, she repeatedly denied any harm to the children.

Prosecutor Pascale Jones denounced Letby’s actions as a “complete betrayal of the trust placed in her,” emphasizing her repeated harm to babies in an environment that should have been safe for them and their families.

Evidence presented during the trial revealed that Letby was on duty when each of the babies collapsed, sometimes as their parents had just left their cots. Colleagues raised concerns about Letby’s presence during these incidents. The prosecution argued that Letby had “gaslighted” her colleagues, misleading them into believing the deaths were merely a string of unfortunate events.

Letby’s final victims were two triplet boys known in court as babies O and P. Child O tragically passed away shortly after Letby returned from a holiday in Ibiza in June 2016, while Child P succumbed a day after their sibling. Furthermore, Letby was also accused of attempting to harm the third triplet, referred to as child Q, although the jury could not reach a verdict on that particular charge.

Prosecutors argued that by the time Letby targeted the triplets, she had spiraled out of control and was essentially playing God. Letby had been arrested and released twice before being formally charged and held in custody in 2020. During a police search of her home, they discovered hospital paperwork and a handwritten note where Letby wrote, “I am evil, I did this.” Later, she claimed she wrote the note after being placed on clerical duties following the death of the two triplets.

In her defense, Letby’s lawyer, Ben Myers, portrayed her as a hardworking and deeply committed nurse who loved her work. Letby also suggested that a “gang” of four senior doctors had scapegoated her to cover up the hospital’s failings. When she testified at the trial, Letby expressed her love for working with children and her devastation at being wrongly blamed for the deaths.

The investigation into Letby’s actions extends beyond her time at the Countess of Chester Hospital. Police are scrutinizing her tenure at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital, where she had previously worked, examining more than 4,000 admissions to the neonatal unit between 2012 and 2016.

The impact of Letby’s case on the patients of the Countess of Chester Hospital has been profound. Nigel Scawn, the medical director at the hospital, acknowledged the significance of the changes made since Letby worked there. In response to the case, the government has announced an independent inquiry to determine how concerns raised by clinicians were handled by hospital management, providing answers to the victims’ parents and families, and identifying any patient safety standards that were not met.

The shocking case of Lucy Letby brings to mind the notorious medical murderers in Britain’s history, such as Harold Shipman, a doctor who committed suicide in prison after being convicted of killing 15 patients, and Beverley Allitt, a nurse dubbed the “angel of death” sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering four children and attempting to murder others.

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