A nurse has been charged with allegedly murdering seven newborns and attempting to kill 10 more while working in a neonatal unit at a U.K. hospital, according to reports.
Lucy Letby worked as a neonatal nurse at the Countess of Chester Hospital in northwest England between 2015 and 2016, before authorities were notified she was possibly injecting newborn babies with air and feeding them insulin, AP News reported Monday. The 32-year-old nurse pleaded not guilty to charges alleging she murdered five newborn boys and two girls and attempted to murder an additional five newborn boys and five girls, the outlet continued.
Prosecutor Nick Johnson told the Manchester Crown Court that Letby was a “constant malevolent presence” at the hospital while it experienced an increase in cases of newborns dying or having “serious catastrophic collapses” beginning in 2015, according to AP News.
The hospital reportedly called the police to investigate after doctors were unable to find what caused the spike in newborn patients either dying or suddenly worsening. “Babies who had not been unstable at all suddenly deteriorated. Sometimes babies who had been sick, but then been on the mend suddenly deteriorated for no apparent reason,” Johnson said in his opening statements to the jury, according to AP News. (RELATED: Mom Charged With Murder After Her Three Children Drowned At Coney Island)
The investigation suggested two newborn boys survived deliberate insulin poisoning, according to the outlet. Prosecutors reportedly argued the poisoning and the other 15 collapses or deaths happened at the hands of Letby. She was always working when “things took a turn for the worse for these 17 children,” Johnson said, according to The Washington Post.
GB News North West of England Reporter Sophie Reaper on the latest on the Lucy Letby trial in Manchester. pic.twitter.com/QH8qKxBwTq
— GB News (@GBNEWS) October 11, 2022
Letby’s first alleged victim was a newborn boy who died in June 2015 after air was injected into his bloodstream “by someone who knew it would cause significant harm,” AP News reported, citing the prosecutor. The air injection most likely caused the infant’s death, a medical expert said, according to the outlet. Johnson claimed if Letby was unsuccessful in killing one of her alleged newborn victims, she would try several times, including once when she attempted three times to kill the same child, The Washington Post reported.
Chester police detained Letby three times for questioning before formally charging her in November 2020.