LONDON (HPD) — A hospital neonatal nurse accused of killing seven babies and attempting to murder 10 others deliberately poisoned two babies with insulin, a prosecutor in Britain said Monday.
Lucy Letby, 32, has been charged with murder in the deaths of five boys and two girls and the attempted murder of five boys and five girls when she worked at the Countess of Chester Hospital in north-west England between 2015 and 2016. Letby has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At the start of the trial at Manchester Crown Court, prosecutor Nick Johnson said that since 2015 the hospital had seen a significant increase in the number of babies dying or suffering “severe catastrophic collapse”.
“Babies who hadn’t been unstable at all suddenly deteriorated. Sometimes babies who had been sick but were later recovering suddenly deteriorated for no apparent reason,” he told the jury.
He said when doctors couldn’t find a cause, they called the police and conducted a review that suggested someone in the neonatal unit poisoned two baby boys with insulin two days after they were born.
Johnson noted that Letby was on duty when they were both poisoned. He added that prosecutors believed the collapses and deaths of the 17 babies were the work of Letby, whom he described as a “constant malevolent presence” in the hospital’s neonatal unit when infants collapsed or died.
Family members of some of Letby’s alleged victims sat in the courtroom and the defendant’s parents were also present.
The trial is expected to last weeks, if not months.
Police launched an investigation into the deaths of several babies at the hospital in May 2017. Letby was arrested three times in connection with the deaths before being charged in November 2020.