UK Jury Finds Nurse Guilty Of Killing 7 Babies, Trying To Kill 6 Others

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A neonatal nurse in England was convicted Friday of killing seven babies in a British hospital where she worked between 2015 and 2016.

Following a 10-month trial, 33-year-old Lucy Letby was found guilty in the deaths of five infant boys and two girls while employed at Countess of Chester Hospital in North West England, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Letby was also accused of attempting to harm at least eight other infants. In two of the attempted murder charges, the jury found Letby not guilty, but could not come to a consensus on the six others, Reuters reported.

Prior to June 2015, the hospital had reportedly suffered two to three neonatal deaths a year, but after Letby’s employment, three babies died within the space of two weeks, the BBC reported. Though the deaths were all attributed to different causes, they were linked in that Letby was on duty for all three, according to the outlet. (RELATED: UK Nurse Accused Of Murdering Seven Babies, Attempting To Kill 10 Others)

In October 2015, two more babies died  — both of them while Letby was working a shift. In addition, multiple babies on the unit were “suffering non-fatal collapses” when Letby was on duty, according to the BBC. After doctors were unable to find a reason for the sudden increase in deaths and non-fatal incidents, police were called in to investigate and found Letby was a “constant malevolent presence when things took a turn for the worse,” Reuters reported, citing prosecutor Nick Johnson.

The infants under Letby’s care were harmed in various ways, with prosecutors telling the jury the babies had been injected with insulin and air or force-fed milk through nasogastric tubes. In some cases, the infants were attacked multiple times before they died, according to Reuters.

Prosecutors pointed to a handwritten note found among Letby’s belongings that read, “I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them. … I am a horrible evil person. I AM EVIL I DID THIS,” according to Reuters. Letby’s lawyer dismissed the note, arguing she was merely blaming herself for the tragedies that had occurred on the ward because she had “lost confidence in herself,” AP reported.

The prosecution dismissed the lawyer’s claims, arguing the handwritten note should be considered a confession, according to Reuters. “Parents were exposed to her morbid curiosity and her fake compassion,” lead prosecutor Pascale Jones said, the outlet reported. “Too many of them returned home to empty baby rooms. Many surviving children live with permanent consequences of her assaults upon their lives.”

Letby maintained her innocence throughout the trial, telling the jury she only did her best to care for the infants in the unit. “I am there to care not to harm,” she said, according to AP.

Sentencing for Letby will be carried out Monday. She may be condemned to a very long prison term, even possibly a full life sentence — a rarity in the U.K., Reuters reported.