A nurse has been found guilty of killing seven newborn babies in a British hospital

A nurse has been found guilty of killing seven newborn babies in a British hospital

An English nurse was convicted on Friday of killing seven newborn babies within a year in the hospital where she was working, and of attempting to kill six others, while the British government announced the opening of an independent investigation to uncover the circumstances of these "horrific" crimes.

Lucy Letby, 33, was working in the intensive care unit at the Counts of Chester Hospital in Chester, northwest England. Prosecutors described her as "cold, cunning, cruel and stubborn."

Between June 2015 and June 2016, seven premature babies died suddenly for no apparent reason, sometimes within hours. Ten other children were about to die, also for no apparent reason, but they were saved.

On Friday, the British government ordered the opening of an independent investigation following the conviction of nurse Lucy Letby, noting in a statement that this investigation would seek "to uncover the circumstances of the horrific murders and attempted murders of infants."

This investigation will help "ensure that families get the answers they need".

The penalty will be determined later for the young woman who was pleading her innocence in these crimes, who was 25 years old when they occurred. She was accused of injecting air intravenously to newborn babies, using their nasogastric tubes to send air, or giving them an overdose of milk, into their stomachs.

In separate cases, a nurse added insulin to a nutritional solution, pulled a premature baby's breathing tube, and gave excessive amounts of food to a young victim through a tube. In some cases, it combined several violations against the same child.

Judge James Goss noted that the nurse was the only medical staff member who remained on duty during the rapid deterioration of the newborn's condition, before the 12-member jury began deliberating on July 10.
She was accused of attempting to kill some children on several occasions, and 22 counts were brought against her, seven counts of murder and 15 counts of attempted murder against ten children.

The trial opened on October 10 in Manchester (North). Children are only identified with letters, from A to Q, to protect their families. The families of the victims gave their testimonies during the trial, some of whom cried during it.

The defense described Lucy Letby as a "dedicated" nurse, who said, "My work is my whole life."

Attorney General Nic Johnson meticulously re-analyzed her schedules and noted the similarities between the deaths. He explained that Lucy Letby would attack children after their parents had left, when the nurse in charge had left, or at night when she was alone. Then she would sometimes join collective efforts to save newborn babies, or even help desperate parents.

Among the victims were twins or even triplets, two of whom died within 24 hours of each other, after the nurse returned from leave in June 2016. The third was rescued, after his parents insisted on transferring him to another hospital.

At that time, the prosecutor said, after killing her victims without drawing attention, she became an "uncontrollable" woman, adding, "she thought she was the creator."

A baby who was born long premature and was attacked three times by a nurse in September 2015 continues to suffer from a severe disability.

"I do not deserve to live. I killed them on purpose because I am not good enough to take care of them. I am a terrible person," the nurse wrote in a note found in her home in 2018. But she declared her innocence in other documents.

Her lawyer, Ben Myers, said the neonatology unit in 2015-2016 "received more babies than usual, with greater needs for care," and the nurse "failed" to meet them. He had denounced the lack of evidence against his client, saying that incompetent doctors had blamed her.

In his last plea, he denounced the "presumption of guilt" against the nurse.

According to the public prosecutor, Lucy Letby also forged some medical notes to cover up the effects of her crimes.

During the trial, one of the mothers recounted how she returned to get milk for one of her premature twins at 9pm in August 2015, heard him screaming and found that his mouth was covered in blood. Lucy Litby reassured her of his condition and advised her to go up to her room.

According to the prosecution, the nurse had just pushed the medical equipment down the little boy's throat and also injected him with air. He died a few hours later, after losing a quarter of his blood.
Letby was transferred in June 2016 to an administrative department, arrested for the first time in 2018, then in 2019, and finally imprisoned in November 2020.