Lucy Letby: detectives investigating care of 4,000 babies as police fear nurse may have harmed more infants
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Cheshire Police have pledged to conduct a "full and thorough investigation" of the care of around 4,000 babies over fears that convicted killer and former neonatal nurse Lucy Letby may have harmed while she had access to neonatal units.
Letby, 33, was found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others over a one year period at the Countess of Chester Hospital. The trial, which lasted nine months, concluded on 18 August when the jury returned the guilty verdict.
Police are now investigating a number of events throughout her five-year career in the health industry, including at Liverpool Women's Hospital. Letby, who was arrested in June 2018, first qualified as a nurse in September 2011 and worked on two placements at the facility in 2012 and 2015, and on the neonatal unit at Countess of Chester Hospital caring for vulnerable infants from January 2012 to July 2016.
Detective Superintendent Paul Hughes, who headed up the investigation into the former nurse known as 'Operation Hummingbird', said that while 4,000 cases were continuing to be looked at by officers in the wake of her conviction, only those highlighted as medically concerning would be investigated further. It was added that the review of cases at Liverpool Women's Hospital did not involve any deaths.
He said: “This does not mean we are investigating all 4,000. It just means that we are committed to a thorough review of every admission from a medical perspective, to ensure that nothing is missed throughout the entirety of her employment as a nurse.”
The initial arrest of Letby saw police investigate a total of 17 infant deaths and 15 non-fatal collapses which had taken place under her care between March 2015 and July 2016. Police previously stated that a number of those deaths were no longer being investigated due a natural or biological cause of death being identified.
DS Hughes added: “We would be foolish if we were to think we have gathered all cases that Lucy Letby could have touched in one go. We are proud of our investigation but we are not that good to say we have got everything in one go.
“So we are committed to doing an overarching investigation looking at every single baby’s admission into neonatal unit for the entire footprint that Lucy Letby has been employed. There are some cases which have been initially highlighted to us at the moment as concerning by an independent review, and those parents have been informed about where we are with that investigation and are being supported.”
Speaking to The Telegraph, Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Evans said that Letby's actions had gone unnoticed for so long due to the "subtlety" of her techniques and her position of trust. DS Evans said: “When you listen to the evidence and just how delicate these babies are and the position they are in you realise it doesn’t take much whatsoever. It becomes very clear that somebody with a sinister mind in that environment does have themselves, and can create themselves, the opportunity to cause harm.”