Families of child victims of ‘rogue’ nurse Lucy Letby left ‘devastated and angry’

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

The families of the victims of Britain’s worst child serial killer Lucy Letby say they are “heartbroken, devastated, angry and feel numb”.

“Rogue” nurse  Letby, 33, murdered seven babies and attempted to murder six more in a year-long attack spree at the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital.

In 2015 and 2016, there was a significant rise in the numbers of babies who suffered serious and unexpected collapses at the unit.

Letby’s presence when collapses took place was first mentioned to senior management by the unit’s head consultant in late June 2015, her trial at  Manchester Crown Court heard.

Concerns among some consultants about the defendant increased and were voiced to hospital bosses when more unexplained and unusual collapses followed.

But Letby was not removed from the unit until after the deaths of two triplet boys in June 2016.

The Government has ordered an independent inquiry which will investigate the circumstances behind Letby’s offending.

It will also look at the handling of concerns raised by staff at the hospital and what action was taken by regulators and the wider health service.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Rob Behrens said: “Those who lost their children deserve to know whether Letby could have been stopped and how it was that doctors were not listened to, and their concerns not addressed, for so long.”

Former Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Tony Chambers, who was in charge at the time, said he would co-operate “fully and openly” with the inquiry.

On Friday, jurors completed their deliberations of 110 hours and 26 minutes – spanning 22 days – following a trial which began last October.

The jury of seven women and four men convicted Letby of seven counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder in relation to six other infants.

Following the verdicts, speaking on behalf of the families, Janet Moore, family liaison co-ordinator, said: “Words cannot effectively explain how we’re feeling at this moment in time. We are quite simply stunned.

“To lose a baby is a heart-breaking experience no parent should ever have to go through, but to lose a baby or to have a baby harmed in these particular circumstances is unimaginable.

“Over the past seven to eight years we’ve had to go through a long and torturous emotional journey.

“From losing our precious newborns and grieving their loss, seeing our children who survived, some of whom are still suffering today, to being told years later that their death or collapse might be suspicious. Nothing can prepare you for that news.

“Today, justice has been served and the nurse who should have been caring for our babies has been found guilty of harming them.

“But this justice will not take away from the extreme hurt, anger and distress that we have all had to experience.

“We are heartbroken, devastated, angry and feel numb.

“We may never truly know why this happened.”

Crown Prosecution Service reviewing lawyer Pascale Jones said: “Lucy Letby was entrusted to protect some of the most vulnerable babies. Little did those working alongside her know that there was a murderer in their midst.

“She did her utmost to conceal her crimes, by varying the ways in which she repeatedly harmed babies in her care.”

A court order prohibits reporting of the identities of the surviving and dead children who were the subject of the allegations.

The nurse was arrested at her semi-detached home in Westbourne Road, Chester, at 6am on July 3 2018.

During searches of her address, a number of closely written notes were discovered.

On one green Post-it note she wrote: “I don’t deserve to live. I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them”, “I am a horrible evil person” and in capital letters “I am evil I did this”.

Prosecutor Nick Johnson KC invited the jurors to read the note “literally” as a confession.

Also found during searches, the court heard, were more than 250 shift handover sheets containing names of some of the children on the trial indictment.

Her “voyeuristic tendencies” drove her to carry out numerous Facebook searches for parents of children she attacked, he said.

Letby falsified medical notes to cover her tracks and gaslighted doctors and nurses to persuade them the collapses were “just a run of bad luck”.

She was also prepared to publicly trash the reputations of colleagues “in an effort to get away with it”, the prosecutor added.

Letby, from Hereford, denied all the allegations.

She has indicated through her lawyers that she does not intend to take any part in her sentencing hearing on Monday.

The court heard earlier in the week that she no longer wanted to be brought up from the cells to the courtroom.

Letby was cleared of two counts of attempted murder.

Jurors could not reach verdicts on six remaining counts of attempted murder in relation to five infants.

Prosecutors asked for 28 days to consider their position over whether to seek a retrial on those counts.

Cheshire Police say they are continuing to review the care of some 4,000 babies who were admitted to the Countess of Chester – and also at Liverpool Women’s Hospital when Letby had two work placements – during her employment from 2012.

Only those cases highlighted as concerning medically would be investigated further, police added.

Source link