Nurse Lucy Letby’s conviction on Friday for murdering seven babies and attempting to kill six others makes her one of the UK’s worst medical serial killers. Her youngest victim was just one-day old.
The reasons behind the 33-year-old’s actions may never be fully explained, but the jurors were given several possible motives by the prosecution during the 10-month trial.
She Enjoyed ‘Playing God’
Lucy Letby‘s final victims were two triplet boys, referred to in court as babies O and P. Child O died shortly after Letby returned from a holiday in Ibiza in June 2016, while child P died a day after their sibling.
During the trial, prosecutors said by that time Letby was “completely out of control”, adding that “she was in effect playing God”.
The prosecutor suggested that she “played God” by harming a baby and then being the first to alert her colleagues about the deteriorating health.
“She was controlling things. She was enjoying what was going on. She was predicting things that she knew were going to happen. She, in effect, was playing God,” one of the prosecutors said.
She Enjoyed Hurting The Babies
Letby was arrested and released twice. On her third arrest in 2020, she was formally charged and held in custody.
During searches at her home, police found hospital paperwork and a handwritten note on which Letby had written: “I am evil, I did this.”
In the trial, the prosecutors suggested that Letby was getting a thrill out of the grief and despair in the room.
She Wanted The Attention Of An Anonymous Doctor
Prosecutors alleged that Letby was having a secret relationship with a married doctor at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
He was one of the doctors who would be contacted when babies rapidly deteriorated, which was thought to be a crucial aspect of their relationship. It was implied that she hurt them to receive his “personal attention”, but Letby disagreed.
Texts shown to the court revealed the pair messaged regularly, swapping love heart emojis, and met up several times outside work, even after Letby was removed from the neonatal unit in July 2016.
She Wasn’t ‘Good Enough
The jurors were presented with several notes written by Lucy Letby, one of which said, “I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them. On another note, she wrote, “I will never have children or marry. I will never know what it’s like to have a family.”
Lucy Letby was a band 5 nurse, meaning that she had the skills and training to tend to the sickest babies in the neonatal unit. At the trial, she agreed that she sometimes found work less stimulating when she was assigned to babies who did not need as much medical attention.
The prosecutors presented evidence of Letby using various methods to attack babies, including the injection of air and insulin into their bloodstream; the infusion of air into their gastrointestinal tract; force-feeding an overdose of milk or fluids; impact-type trauma.
She intended to kill the babies while deceiving her colleagues into believing there was a natural cause, the jury was told.
“Lucy Letby sought to deceive her colleagues and pass off the harm she caused as nothing more than a worsening of each baby’s existing vulnerability. In her hands, innocuous substances like air, milk, fluids – or medication like insulin – would become lethal. She perverted her learning and weaponised her craft to inflict harm, grief, and death,” said Pascale Jones of the CPS.
“Time and again, she harmed babies, in an environment which should have been safe for them and their families. Her attacks were a complete betrayal of the trust placed in her,” he said.