For months, the most prolific child serial killer in modern British history has been able to get away with a string of baby murders.
Lucy Letby killed seven babies and attempted to murder six others while working in the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital between 2015 and 2016.
As the twisted child killer continued to carry out the murders, hospital bosses refused to believe the ‘kind’ 33-year-old nurse was doing anything wrong.
But the ‘tipping point’ came when Letby, from Hereford, was on duty at a time when two of three premature triplets died within 24 hours in June 2016.
Here MailOnline looks at how Letby’s crimes came to light, ahead of her sentencing today when she is due to receive a life sentence:
Police body camera footage showing Lucy Letby being arrested at her home in Chester on July 3, 2018
– June 22: Child D, a full-term baby girl, dies 36 hours after birth at the Countess of Chester Hospital. This is the third infant death in two weeks, the total number of deaths in the neonatal unit for the whole of 2014.
– End of June/July: A meeting is held between Chief Neonatal Consultant Dr. Stephen Brearey and Director of Nursing Alison Kelly, along with other bosses, to discuss an informal review Dr. Brearey is undertaking into the death of Child D. His finds reveal an ‘association’ with nurse Lucy Letby and her presence during the recent collapses. But no foul play is suspected and the deaths are not linked. Dr. Brearey remembers him saying, “That can’t be nice Lucy.”
– 5 August: The blood sugar levels of a premature baby boy, Child F, drop dangerously low and a blood sample is sent for testing to the Royal Liverpool Hospital. A day earlier, the boy’s twin brother, Child E, died following an unexpected collapse.
– August 13: Child F’s blood test result shows abnormally high insulin levels, indicating that it was not produced naturally.
– October 23: Child I, a premature girl, dies in the unit. Concerns are raised again by some consultants in an email. Dr Brearey contacts the unit’s director, Eirian Powell, fearing Letby could harm the babies, and describes the bond as “unfortunate”.
– February 8: A ‘topical’ review by an independent neonatologist based at Liverpool Women’s Hospital is taking place. The review, commissioned by Dr Brearey, finds no reason for the rise in deaths and collapses, but concerns remain over Letby as the report is passed to Director of Nursing Ms Kelly and the medical director Ian Harvey.
– March 2: Dr. Brearey emails Ms. Powell to set up a meeting, saying, “We still need to talk about Letby.”
– April 9: Another young person, Child L, suffers an episode of hypoglycemia during which his blood sugar levels plunge. Around the same time, her twin brother, Child M, unexpectedly collapses and requires full resuscitation before recovering. A blood sample from Child L is sent for testing to the Royal Liverpool Hospital.
The judge is likely to impose a lifetime tariff, which means Letby will never be released. She will likely become the fourth woman in British legal history to receive such punishment
– April 16: Child L’s blood test result shows a very high insulin level, again indicating that it was not produced naturally.
– Can: Dr. Brearey meets with senior executives. He said he had “no doubts” about the concerns, but Ms Kelly and Mr Harvey are clearing Letby to continue working in the neonatal unit. In response to concerns, a hospital manager suggests other NHS services could be behind the rise in deaths, with a document stating: ‘There is no evidence against Letby other than a coincidence”.
– June 24: Child P, one of the triplets, collapses and dies a day after the death in the unit of his newborn brother, Child O. Dr. Brearey telephones the care manager, Karen Rees, a senior nurse from the Urgent Care Division, to say that he and his fellow consultants do not want Letby to work her next scheduled shift on June 25, but she rejects the plea.
– June 25: Ninety minutes into Letby’s day shift, Child Q, a boy born prematurely, needs respiratory support after his blood oxygen levels and heart rate dropped . He is continuing his full recovery.
– June 29: The ‘tipping point’ has now arrived. The consultants discuss recent ‘unexplainable’ events and then urge hospital bosses to remove Letby from the unit as a safety measure. Dr. Brearey tells Ward Manager Karen Rees to replace Letby. Mrs. Rees initially refuses, but Letby is then told for the first time about her connection to the deaths in a meeting.
– June 30th: Letby works her last shift as a nurse in the neonatal unit.
– July 7: Hospital bosses are cutting neonatal unit ward by reducing the number of bed spaces and raising the gestational age limit for admission from a minimum of 27 to 32 weeks.
– July 15th: An email is sent to all healthcare staff informing them that they will each undergo a period of clinical supervision – after the medical director, Mr Harvey, asked the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) to conduct a unit service review. The email reads: “Lucy agreed to undergo this supervision for the first time on Monday, July 18.”
An image from Cheshire Police of the staff attendance report, showing Letby’s line highlighted
Letby questioned in July 2018 by a police officer about the increase in deaths under his watch
– July 19: Letby moves into a clerical role, as she begins an administrative role in the hospital’s patient experience team.
– August 9: Another group email to neonatal staff informs them that secondment opportunities are available and states that Letby is spending three months in the Office of Risk and Patient Safety.
– September 7: Letby registers a formal complaint procedure against his employer. Around this time, the union at the Royal College of Nursing informed him by letter of the allegations surrounding his involvement in a number of deaths.
– November: The RCPCH says it found no obvious factors linking a total of eight neonatal unit deaths in 2015 and five deaths through July 2016. However, it found significant gaps in medical and nursing rotations, and a insufficient staff to provide longer term care. strong dependence and some intensive care.
– May 18: Cheshire Police say they have launched an investigation into ‘a higher number of infant deaths and collapses’ at the hospital between June 2015 and June 2016. The inquest will focus on eight deaths and will examine also seven other fatalities and six non-fatal collapses.
– July 3: Letby is arrested at her home in Westbourne Road, Chester, at 6am and officers search the three-bedroom property. Searches are also taking place at his parents’ home in Hereford and at his workplace in the hospital’s patient safety and risk office. According to the police, the investigation extended to 17 deaths and 15 non-fatal collapses between March 2015 and July 2016.
Lucy Letby listens to the verdicts read out at Manchester Crown Court on August 11
– June 10: Letby is again arrested at her parents’ home.
– November 10: Letby is arrested again before being charged and appears in court for the first time two days later.
– October 4: Letby stands trial at Manchester Crown Court, charged with the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of ten others.
– August 18: It can be reported that Letby was found guilty at Manchester Crown Court of the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of six others.
WATCH THE FULL MAIL LUCY LETBY DOCUMENTARY HERE