Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
Who is Lucy Letby? How the 'kind and geeky girl' became the UK's most prolific child killer
18 August 2023, 14:00
Lucy Letby has become Britain's most prolific child killer in modern history after being found guilty of murdering seven babies and trying to kill six more.
Listen to this article
In a trial that lasted for many months, Letby was accused of injecting her victims with air or poisoning them with insulin while working at the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and 2016.
She was found guilty today of ‘playing god,’ stalking hospital wards of the neo-natal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital, injecting air and fluids including insulin and milk into babies in her care in a horrifying campaign of death between June 2015 and June 2016.
But who is Lucy Letby, and how did she come to be the UK's most notorious nurse?
Where did Lucy Letby grow up, and what was she like as a child?
Lucy Letby grew in Hereford, a small English cathedral city on the border with Wales.
Described by childhood friends as a "geeky girl" who was quiet and unassuming, she had long harboured ambitions of becoming a nurse.
Others called her "sweet", "studious" and "kind" while she was studying at a local comprehensive.
Letby was part of a tight-knit group of friends who called themselves the "miss-match family," the Times reported.
When she left school she began studying at the University of Chester, a two-hour drive to the north of her home town.
At university, she remained hard-working and was always the first home from a night out, so as to be ready to keep studying the next day.
None of her friends imagined that she would later be accused of being the UK's most prolific child killer.
When did Lucy Letby start working at the Countess of Chester Hospital?
Lucy Letby began work as a children's nurse at the Countess of Chester Hospital in 2011, when she graduated from university.
She also did a training placement at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
Letby had a clean record with the Nursing and Midwifery Council during her time at the hospital.
She also helped to raise £3 million for the neonatal unit at the hospital two years after starting work as a nurse.
In a short 2013 interview with local paper the Chester Standard to promote the fundraiser, Letby described her job.
"My role involves caring for a wide range of babies requiring various levels of support," she said.
"Some are here for a few days, others for many months and I enjoy seeing them progress and supporting their families.
"I am currently undergoing extra training in order to develop and enhance my knowledge and skills within the Intensive Care area and have recently completed a placement at Liverpool Women’s Hospital."
How did Lucy Letby come under suspicion?
The Countess of Chester hospital began to see an unusually high number of baby deaths in 2016. The hospital saw 15 baby deaths and 17 life-threatening incidents in the 12 months to June that year.
In 2016, the hospital stopped accepting children born before 32 weeks of pregnancy, in part because of the high baby mortality rate.
An independent review did not find any "single cause or factor... to explain the increase".
The hospital called in Cheshire Police to investigate in 2017, saying in a statement that this was to "seek assurances that enable us to rule out unnatural causes of death."
When was Lucy Letby arrested?
Lucy Letby was moved from nursing to clerical work in 2016. She continued in this role until 2018, when she was arrested.
Senior doctors at the hospital said that they moved her away from working with children because they feared the babies' deaths were "the result of the actions of Lucy Letby".
Letby was arrested on July 3, 2018, a year into the police investigation. She was bailed three days later and rearrested in June 2019, and again in November 2020.
She was charged with eight counts of murder and ten counts of attempted murder, although one murder count was dropped by the time the case got to trial.
Letby was denied bail following her 2020 arrest.
When did Lucy Letby's trial begin?
Lucy Letby's trial began in October 2022 at Manchester Crown Court.
After nine months, the jury were sent out to consider their verdict on July 10 this year and the guilty verdicts were returned today on Friday August 18.