Lucy Letby: Serial killer nurse found guilty of attempted murder of extremely premature baby

Lucy Letby
Lucy Letby

Serial killer nurse Lucy Letby has been found guilty of the attempted murder of an extremely premature baby, just two hours after she was born.

Letby, who was convicted last year of the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of six others, was found guilty by a jury at a retrial at Manchester Crown Court.

The jury at her original trial had been unable to reach a verdict on the charge that she attempted to murder the premature baby, known as Baby K, at the Countess of Chester Hospital in February 2016.

The prosecution said that Letby had displaced the baby’s breathing tube and had been caught “virtually red-handed” when a doctor walked into the room.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram told the jury he saw Letby standing beside the infant’s incubator doing nothing as her blood oxygen levels fell to life-threatening levels.

An alarm that should have been sounding was silent.

After the baby recovered, her tube was displaced two more times that night, the prosecution said, alleging Letby had tried to make it appear like the infant habitually displaced it herself.

The baby, who had been born at 25 weeks’ gestation, was transferred to a specialist neo-natal unit but died three days later.

Letby’s actions were not alleged to have caused her death.

The parents of Child K gasped and then cried when the verdict was read out – after the jury deliberated for just three-and-a-half hours.

Letby showed no emotion in the dock.

Sentencing will take place on Friday at 10.30am.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Nicola Wyn Williams, of CPS Mersey-Cheshire’s Complex Casework Unit, said that Letby has “continually denied that she tried to kill this baby or any of the babies that she has been convicted of murdering or attempting to murder”.

She said: “Our case included direct evidence from a doctor who walked into the nursery to find a very premature baby desaturating with Letby standing by, taking no action to help or to raise the alarm. She had deliberately dislodged the breathing tube in an attempt to kill her.

“Staff at the unit had to think the unthinkable – that one of their own was deliberately harming and killing babies in their care.

“Letby dislodged the tube a further two times over the following few hours in an attempt to cover her tracks and suggest that the first dislodgment was accidental. These were the actions of a cold-blooded, calculated killer.

“The grief that the family of Baby K have felt is unimaginable. Our thoughts remain with them and all those affected by this case at this time,” Ms Wyn Williams added.

Dr Nigel Scawn, medical director at the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of Baby K. We are extremely sorry that these awful crimes happened at our hospital.

“Since Lucy Letby worked at our hospital, we have made significant changes to our services and remain committed to providing high quality safe care to our local communities.

“We want to acknowledge the impact this continues to have on everyone involved in this case and restate our commitment to do everything we can to help families get the answers they deserve.

Dr Scawn also thanked “the unwavering cooperation and professionalism of our staff, some of whom returned to court to repeat evidence and relive events”.

Read more:
Inside the mind of a serial killer – the psychology behind healthcare murderers
How the police caught Lucy Letby

During the retrial, Letby denied she had ever intended or tried to harm any baby in her care.

She said she had no recollection of the incident with Baby K but said: “I know I did nothing to interfere.”

Letby was asked about Facebook searches she made for Baby K’s surname more than two years after she left the neonatal unit.

She had also searched for the parents of other babies she was convicted of murdering or attempting to murder.

She denied having a fascination with the families or looking for signs of their grief.

She told the jury: “I’m not guilty of what I’ve been found guilty of.”

Last August, Letby was sentenced to 14 whole life orders after the jury found her guilty at the end of a 10-month trial.

In sentencing at that trial, the judge Mr Justice Goss said she was guilty of a “cruel, calculated and cynical campaign of child murder involving the smallest and most vulnerable of children”.

He added: “There was a deep malevolence bordering on sadism in your actions.”

The motivation for those actions was unclear.

The prosecution told her original trial that she enjoyed “playing God” and was excited by the drama of staff rushing to save the babies she had attacked.

A public inquiry into events at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit will begin to hear evidence in September.

Source:  Sky News news.sky.com

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