Lucy Letby, 34, was convicted last year of murdering seven premature babies and trying to kill six others at the English hospital where she worked (she is pictured on the neo-natal ward in 2013 two years before she murdered her first victim)

In a case that has gripped Britain a seemingly innocuous nurse has emerged as the country’s worst ever child serial killer. 

Lucy Letby, 34, was convicted last year of murdering seven premature babies and trying to kill six others at the English hospital where she worked. Last week, after a second trial, she was found guilty of attempting to murder a seventh.

But with the long-running and unspeakably harrowing court hearings finally at an end, voices have begun to question whether Letby may in fact be innocent – despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

It was a case that rocked Britain – and covered in unrivalled depth by awarding-winning Daily Mail journalists in the No.1 True Crime podcast The Trial of Lucy Letby.

Who is Lucy Letby? 

Dubbed ‘the Vanilla killer’ Letby lived alone in a bland three-bedroom home, sleeping in a bedroom filled with stuffed toys and childlike trinkets.

But the nurse, a seemingly ‘goofy’, ‘innocent’ young woman found different ways to inflict indescribable, inhuman levels of pain, with some of her victims breaking into tortured screams that experienced pediatricians had never heard before. Several had to take time off work to recover from the trauma.

Lucy Letby, 34, was convicted last year of murdering seven premature babies and trying to kill six others at the English hospital where she worked (she is pictured on the neo-natal ward in 2013 two years before she murdered her first victim)

Lucy Letby, 34, was convicted last year of murdering seven premature babies and trying to kill six others at the English hospital where she worked (she is pictured on the neo-natal ward in 2013 two years before she murdered her first victim)

She inflicted unimaginable harm on her victims - all while appearing as a smiling, harmless nurse. This image was taken in 2012 three years before Letby's killing spree began

She inflicted unimaginable harm on her victims – all while appearing as a smiling, harmless nurse. This image was taken in 2012 three years before Letby’s killing spree began

She got away with her killing spree despite consultants repeatedly trying to blow the whistle to managers about the spate of deaths on her watch.

Between June 2015 and June 2016, Letby would prey on babies small enough to fit in the palm of her hand by injecting air or insulin into their bloodstreams or feeding tubes, causing them to collapse and die. In other cases she rammed medical equipment down their throats, causing them to bleed profusely as they lay in their cots.

Among her victims were twins and two boys in a set of identical triplets who she murdered within 24 hours of each other after returning from a week-long holiday to Ibiza.

Lucy’s crimes 

Working at the Countess of Chester Hospital, in north England, Letby’s callous killing spree began a day after she joined colleagues on a boozy bachelorette party on June 8, 2015. 

Her innocent first victim, known only as Baby A was born six weeks prematurely and was barely a day old when he was handed into the care of Letby at 8pm.

Within an hour, the infant would be dead. Heartbroken hospital staff were baffled at why none of the normal techniques to revive the newborn had failed to save his life. 

Little did they know, it was one of their own team who was responsible for the killing – and she was far from finished. 

Less than 28 hours later, Letby attempted to kill Baby A’s twin sister, injecting air into the youngster, causing her to stop breathing. On this occasion, medics are able to revive the infant. 

The next week, Letby would strike again, this time killing Baby C, who was born seven weeks prematurely weighing just 800g (1lb 12oz). 

Listen to our No.1 UK True Crime podcast, The Trial of Lucy Letby 

Letby is Britain's most prolific child killer. Here she pictured in 2013 before her killing spree began, holding a baby's piece of clothing while working as a nurse in an English hospital

Letby is Britain’s most prolific child killer. Here she pictured in 2013 before her killing spree began, holding a baby’s piece of clothing while working as a nurse in an English hospital 

After killing her victims, she would write notes to herself, including this where, in which she scribbled in capital letters: 'I AM EVIL I DID THIS'. The notes were found by police when she was arrested in 2018

After killing her victims, she would write notes to herself, including this where, in which she scribbled in capital letters: ‘I AM EVIL I DID THIS’. The notes were found by police when she was arrested in 2018

In another note found by police in 2018, Letby had scribbled a jumble of words, with phrases like 'love', 'I can't do this anymore' and 'help me' written on it

In another note found by police in 2018, Letby had scribbled a jumble of words, with phrases like ‘love’, ‘I can’t do this anymore’ and ‘help me’ written on it

Looming over her defence victim, Letby injected air into his stomach, on June 13. A desperate six-hour battle ensures, with doctors trying to save the boy’s life. 

Letby slays her third victim, Child D on June 22, injecting air into her bloodstream causing her to collapse three times, before dying. 

Still, despite back-to-back tragedies – all while Letby was on duty and present in the ward – the deaths weren’t connected. 

I am evil. I did this… I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them. 

Lucy Letby’s handwritten note

The baby killer’s reign of terror continued through August, when she killed another baby, Child E on August 4, who weighed just 1.4kg.  The day later, Letby tried to kill Child E’s twin, Child F by lacing his feeding bag with insulin. 

Letby attempts to kill her smallest victim, Child G, who was born 15 weeks early weighing just 450g, in September – making three bids to murder the little girl, leaving her severely disabled. 

On October 23, the nurse murders her next victim in what was later described as a ‘persistent, calculated and cold-blooded’ attack, taking four attempt to kill Child I. 

By the end of that month, hospital staff started to raise the alert over Letby – by senior managers refused to act. 

She went on to try and kill three more children between April and June, 2016, Children L and M, using insulin to poison them, and Child N.

Her final victims, Child O and Child P, were two in a group of premature triplets. Letby snuffed out their lives between June 23 and 24, injecting air into their nasogastric tubes. 

Only now, after almost a year of carnage, was the alarm finally raised and Letby was removed from the ward.

But even after pediatricians raised their suspicions about her activities, hospital executives initially refused to remove her from the unit. When they eventually did so they chose to give her a desk job in the patient safety department.

Letby killed her first victim at the neonatal ward at the Countess of Chester Hospital, pictured, in the north of England (file photo from August 2023)

Letby killed her first victim at the neonatal ward at the Countess of Chester Hospital, pictured, in the north of England (file photo from August 2023)

Face of evil: A beaming Letby is pictured graduating from university in September 2011

Face of evil: A beaming Letby as a young girl

Face of evil: A beaming Letby is pictured graduating from university in September 2011, left, and as a young schoolgirl, right

This images shows Letby being arrested by cops at her home in north England in 2018 after she went on a year-long killing spree, murdering seven babies and trying to kill seven more

This images shows Letby being arrested by cops at her home in north England in 2018 after she went on a year-long killing spree, murdering seven babies and trying to kill seven more 

Blockbuster court case 

Letby was finally arrested in July 2018 and charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder in November 2020.

The killer was hauled into court in October 2022, in what would become one of the longest criminal cases in British history.

It was here that the true horror of her heinous crimes, which were the nightmare of every parent, were finally exposed – in a criminal case that left Britain appalled. 

The court heard how Letby would comfort the parents of children she killed – even sending them sympathy cards after their funerals. Before attacking innocent newborns as young as 23-weeks she had told mothers and fathers: ‘Trust me, I’m a nurse’. After she killed one child she texted a colleague and said: ‘Dad was on the floor crying, saying please don’t take our baby away when I took him to the mortuary, it’s just heart-breaking. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do’.

After each of her murders, Letby appeared ‘animated and excited’, offering to bathe, dress and take photographs of her victims’ bodies. Due to her lack of contrition, her motive remains unclear, but the prosecution believes she got a ‘thrill’ out of ‘playing God’. They also suggested she had been trying to impress a married doctor, knowing he’d be the one to come and help if she hurt children in her care.

Equally ‘beige’ and ‘average’ at work, she allegedly embarked on an affair with a married doctor – with the pair swapping hundreds of messages. 

Prosecutors suspect her infatuation with the married doctor may have motivated some of her crimes, with the evil nurse targeting babies to create ‘crisis situations’ that would require his attention.

Letby’s methods of attack were many and varied, but included injecting infants with air, overfeeding them, poisoning them with insulin and assaulting them with medical tools.

Letby was arrested at her home in July 2018 - more than two years after her killing spree ended

Letby was arrested at her home in July 2018 – more than two years after her killing spree ended

Pictured are police outside Letby's family home in Chester, north England, following her arrest in 2018

Pictured are police outside Letby’s family home in Chester, north England, following her arrest in 2018

On the outside, Letby appeared goofy, sleeping in a room with bed full of cuddly toys (pictured is what her bedroom looked like when pictured by police in 2018)

On the outside, Letby appeared goofy, sleeping in a room with bed full of cuddly toys (pictured is what her bedroom looked like when pictured by police in 2018)

Letby is pictured being quizzed by cops after she was arreste in July 2018

Letby is pictured being quizzed by cops after she was arreste in July 2018 

Letby, an only child, was adored by her parents, with her protective mother shouting at police ‘I did it, take me instead’ when they came to arrest her.

But jurors heard how she felt stifled by the sometimes claustrophobic relationship she shared with them.

Letby continues to insist on her innocence and police have been unable to agree on a motive, yet a brief insight into her mental state came in the form of a chilling ‘confession’ written in a diary.

‘I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough,’ Letby wrote. ‘I will never have children or marry or know what it’s like to have a family.’

A ‘witch hunt’? 

For many there has been little room for doubt that Letby is the worst child serial killer in British history. 

But outside the court case, there has been a growing swell of naysayers who believe the evil nurse is innocent – with some seeking to question the evidence presented at her trial. 

There was no forensic evidence to prove her guilt and no one saw Letby – who continues to maintain her innocence – causing harm.

Prosecutors instead drew on accounts from doctors and nurses on the hospital’s neonatal unit and relied heavily on statistical evidence and expert opinion on complex medical points, some of which took days to explain to the lay jury.  

Lucy Letby (far right) poses with friends on a bachelorette party in June 2015 - a day before she murdered her first victim at the English hospital where she worked as a nurse

Lucy Letby (far right) poses with friends on a bachelorette party in June 2015 – a day before she murdered her first victim at the English hospital where she worked as a nurse 

John and Susan Letby, the parents of nurse Letby, supported her during her first court case. They are seen arriving at Manchester Crown Court in August 2023

John and Susan Letby, the parents of nurse Letby, supported her during her first court case. They are seen arriving at Manchester Crown Court in August 2023

Richard Gill, an emeritus professor of mathematics at Leiden University in the Netherlands, was involved in two cases similar to Letby’s in which statistical coincidence was wrongly used in part to convict two nurses of murdering their patients.

 I will never have children or marry or know what it’s like to have a family

Lucy Letby on another note  

Gill, who has been slammed for posting on social media during the trial that the Letby shift table was meaningless and that she had suffered a miscarriage of justice, said: ‘The police investigation and crown prosecution made all the mistakes the RSS warned about. Nobody studied the statistics in a professional way.’

Other supporters have taken to online forums to insist the killer nurse simply couldn’t be to blame for poisoning helpless babies with insulin, overfeeding them milk, inflicting painful deaths by injecting them with air to cause an embolism, or ramming medical instruments into their mouths and assaulting them.

Letby must have been the victim of a witch hunt, they concluded. A convenient scapegoat for a failing unit, where it was easier for senior doctors to blame a junior colleague than admit babies were dying on their watch.

During her court case, Letby wept as she was jailed for life for her killing spree. She is pictured in a court portrait in August 2023

During her court case, Letby wept as she was jailed for life for her killing spree. She is pictured in a court portrait in August 2023

This graphic shows how Lucy Letby's horrific killing spree progressed throughout 2015 and 2016

This graphic shows how Lucy Letby’s horrific killing spree progressed throughout 2015 and 2016

The science surrounding air embolism and insulin testing which helped convict her was also flawed, they claimed, or, most laughable, that her defence team was poor and had let her down.

And Letby devotees were emboldened further by a 13,000-word-long article published in The New Yorker magazine shortly before the re-trial began, which raised the notion she had been wrongly convicted.

In an effort to pick holes in the prosecution evidence the piece introduces a series of alternative theories, from the presence of sewage containing ‘undetectable’ bacteria to Letby supposedly being a scapegoat for widespread medical failings. 

The piece was blocked from being read online in the UK and was reported to the Attorney General for potentially breaching contempt laws which banned UK media from writing about the case ahead of the re-trial.

But this article itself, misses key evidence from the court case. 

In the Daily Mail’s True Crime podcast series The Trial of Lucy Letby reporters and experts went behind the headlines of some of the world’s biggest trials and has covered the Letby case in moment-by-moment detail.

Currently No1 in the true crime podcast rankings, The Trial of Lucy Letby offers unrivalled, in-depth coverage of the case – presenting the evidence just like it was heard by the jury.

Hosted by Daily Mail reporter Liz Hull who sat in court every day of the trial and broadcast journalist Caroline Cheetham, previous episodes have included weekly updates of the trial itself along with interviews from experts, detectives and victims’ relatives.

Daily Mail reporter Liz Hull (left) who sat in court every day of the trial and broadcast journalist Caroline Cheetham (right), are among the leading authorities on the Letby case

Daily Mail reporter Liz Hull (left) who sat in court every day of the trial and broadcast journalist Caroline Cheetham (right), are among the leading authorities on the Letby case 

Together they had unprecedented access to the court case, providing the most detail report of Letby’s nightmarish killing spree – and the devastating impact it had on the families of her victims. 

And as an authority on the case, Liz said the New Yorker’s report missed out critical details. 

For example, it makes no mention of the 250 confidential ‘trophy’ handover notes, blood test results and resuscitation notes relating to the babies police found at Letby’s home; it does not try to explain the Facebook searches that she made for the parents of her victims, years after she harmed their children. 

Unlike the growing hordes of conspiracy theorists, the Daily Mail’s journalists have followed almost every hour of the case in the courtroom.

On The Trial podcast, you’ll hear the facts of the case, free of speculation.

Then, once you’ve listened to all the evidence for yourself, it’s time to come to your own conclusion.

For the full story, listen to the No. 1 True Crime series, The Trial of Lucy Letby now – wherever you get your podcasts.

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