A former British neonatal nurse is on trial this week for allegedly murdering seven hospitalized babies and attempting to murder 10 others.
Lucy Letby, 33, allegedly “forced” air and fluid into one premature baby boy’s stomach and injected milk and insulin into others’ bloodstreams to kill them. There have been suggestions the nurse allegedly murdered the babies in “mercy killings,” because many were premature and needed medical care.
Letby worked with premature infants at Countess of Chester Hospital in Northwestern England from 2015 to 2016. During that time, the hospital experienced an unusually high number of infant deaths, and an investigation later revealed that the babies’ deaths matched with the times when Letby was working.
Letby allegedly murdered five infant boys and two infant girls by injecting air, milk and insulin into their bloodstreams through IVs and breathing tubes, according to court testimony. In one case, she is accused of trying to kill a baby four times before the infant died.
Another case involved twin brothers in whom she took an “unusual interest” in 2015, even searching for them online after the first boy died, prosecutors said this week, The Guardian reports.
Letby is pleading not guilty.
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Covering her trial this month, the BBC reports a court listened to testimony accusing Letby of murdering two triplets, Child O and Child P, and attempting to murder a premature baby boy, Child Q, within the course of three days in June 2016.
Dr. Dewi Evans, a medical expert who reviewed Child Q’s case, told the court that evidence indicates fluids were “forced” into the premature baby boy’s body, causing him to vomit, according to the report.
“Clearly there was enough fluid injected down his nasogastric tube into his stomach to make him vomit,” Evans testified. “He only would have vomited if he had quite a significant amount of fluid.”
Another doctor, pediatrician Dr. John Gibbs who worked at the hospital when Letby did, said Child Q’s case was the “tipping point” in their suspicions about Letby, the BBC reports.
“I remember wanting to know who had been looking after [Child Q] at time he had desaturated,” Gibbs said. “I wouldn’t normally want to know who was looking after patients. I was worried about what was happening on the unit.”
Letby also is accused of murdering one twin and attempting to murder another.
According to the Guardian:
Jurors were told that Letby … took a “sinister” interested in Baby E’s twin brother, six-day old Baby F.
The nurse allegedly administered a feeding bag laced with insulin to Baby F less than 24 hours after his sibling had died.
The boy survived and when later asked in a police interview why she had searched for his parents on Facebook, Letby said it might have been “to see how [Baby F] was doing”.
According to police, investigators also found a series of handwritten notes in Letby’s home in 2018 that appear to confirm the murders.
“I am evil,” one notes read. “I killed them on purpose because I am not good enough to care for them. I am a horrible, evil person.”
However, police said another note contradicted the first, with Letby writing, “I haven’t done anything wrong, and they have no evidence so why have I to hide it away?”
Letby maintains that she did not kill the babies. According to MSN, her lawyers said all of the babies who died were premature and “vulnerable,” and she did not want to harm them.
“She loved her job,” attorney Ben Myers told the court last year. “She cared deeply about the babies and also cared for their families.”
Her trial continues.