The post-it note written by nurse Lucy Letby says: ‘I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough’
- Post-it note written by Lucy Letby said: ‘I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough’
- But Ben Myers KC, defending Letby, insisted the Post-it notes showed his client’s ‘anguish not guilt’
- Letby, 32, allegedly murdered five boys and two girls in Countess of Chester Hospital over 12 months
- Nurse also accused of trying to kill ten other children between 2015 and 2016 at Countess of Chester Hospital
- Letby allegedly pumped air, milk and other fluids into the bodies of babies she was meant to be caring for
- She denies all 22 charges relating to 17 babies. Her Manchester Crown Court trial will last up to six months
Nurse Lucy Letby, who is accused of murdering seven babies and attempting to kill ten more, wrote ‘I AM EVIL I DID THIS’ on a Post-it note found at her home.
On day four of her trial at Manchester Crown Court the jury was told that messages written by Letby, 32, were found after her arrest including one that said: ‘I killed them on purpose’ and ‘I will never have children or marry’.
The Post-it was among other papers and notes which also contained ‘many protestations of innocence’, Nick Johnson KC, prosecuting, told the jury.
Letby denies killing infants in the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal section between June 2015 and June 2016 using a number of methods, including poisoning.
The notes were the “outpouring of a young woman when she learned she was being accused of killing children, that she’d done her best to care for,” Letby’s attorney, Ben Myers KC, told the jury, insisting they revealed his client’s “anguish not guilt.”
Children’s nurse Lucy Letby (pictured left and right), 32, is alleged to have gone on a year-long killing spree while working at the Countess of Chester Hospital. Police found notes in her home including one that said: ”I AM EVIL I DID THIS’
According to him, the care given to newborns at the Countess of Chester in some instances was “suboptimal” and “there were flaws with the way this unit worked” that “had nothing to do with Lucy Letby.”
‘Interesting items’ were discovered during a search of her Chester home on Westbourne Road, including documents pertaining to many of the kids who passed away or suffered collapses and Post-it notes with words that were carefully written and contained some of her coworkers’ names, according to Mr. Johnson.
‘But I want to show you one note in particular,’ Mr Johnson said, as a green Post-it note was shown on TV screens to the jury.
Mr Johnson said: ‘She wrote, “I don’t deserve to live. I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them”, “I am a horrible evil person” and in capital letters “I am evil I did this”.’
Well, ladies and gentlemen, that is really your job in this case, Mr. Johnson continued. You will have to decide after hearing all the evidence if she actually committed these horrible crimes.
The jury was informed that there were more written notes in addition to the “I am evil…” note.
These, according to Mr. Johnson, contain words like “Why/how this happened” and “What procedure led to this current predicament.” Who made the allegations and what were they? ‘ and ‘Do they have documented documentation to back up their claims? ‘.
The prosecutor said that Letby voiced her annoyance at being denied permission to return to the neonatal unit in her writings, writing: “I haven’t done anything wrong and they have no evidence so why have I had to hide away?” ‘
Her letters clearly revealed worry about the long-term repercussions of what she believed was being claimed against her, and there are several protestations of innocence, Mr. Johnson continued.
Concluding the prosecution opening statement, which began on Monday, Mr Johnson said that after Letby fell under suspicion, she was put on clerical duties where she could not pose a danger to children until she was arrested in July 2018.
Letby, who denies all 22 charges, was being supported by her parents Susan and John Letby for the fourth day of her trial at Manchester Crown Court.
As the fourth day of Letby’s trial continues, the court has heard so far:
Letby, 32, denies murdering seven premature babies and attempting to murder 10 more over 12 months. The deaths occurred at the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and June 2016. Letby was arrested three years after the death of her first alleged victim, Baby A;
ICU nurse is alleged to have injected babies with insulin, air or pumped with milk to kill them – often during night shifts when parents were less likely to be there;
Letby allegedly targeted twins on more than one occasion – and in some cases one was murdered and their sibling survived;
She is said to have searched for the families of her alleged victims’ parents on Facebook and social media, including on Christmas Day;
In some cases, Letby is alleged to have tried to kill babies on up to four occasions, including two times in one shift;
Nurse was ‘smiling’ after one child’s death and sent her parents a sympathy card, which was ‘not normal’. On a separate occasion, a paediatric consultant claimed he walked in on Letby as she was trying to kill a child;
Doctors moved her off night shifts after being concerned about correlation between suspicious deaths and her presence;
Lucy Letby wrote handwritten messages found in her home after her arrest on suspicion of murdering seven babies including one that said: ‘I AM EVIL I DID THIS’. Police discovered yellow and green post-it notes in the ICU nurse’s Chester house including one that said: ‘I don’t deserve to live. I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them. I am a horrible evil person.’;
She photographed two of three triplets lying dead together in a cot after allegedly murdering them after telling a doctor that one of them was ‘not leaving here alive’;
One doctor spoke to Letby before ‘Baby P’ died, predicting his survival, so was surprised when the nurse replied: ‘He’s not leaving alive here, is he?’
Even though there is no proof that Lucy Letby caused the child’s decline, he told the jury that the fact that she was present when it occurred has come to serve as an explanation for it. Miss Letby is adamant that she didn’t injure these babies on purpose.
“It is vital to be careful that blame is not piled on that woman when there may be others who have made mistakes or a system which has failed,” the lawyer said, pointing to his client who was seated in the dock. “Absence of evidence does not convert into evidence of guilt,” he continued.
No one could pinpoint the exact cause of a single child’s decline or death in some instances, the defense claims. She shouldn’t be held accountable if she is not at fault, according to Mr. Myers, and it is astonishing how accusations like these cause everyone to divert their attention to Lucy Letby. Some individuals, we remark right away, have the fairly trusting assumption that just because accusations of her guilt have been made, she must be guilty.
Mr. Myers said that some of the newborns Letby is accused of harming “should not have been in the Countess of Chester in the first place” and urged the jury to take their birth conditions into account.
We hardly have a foundation of vigorous good health, he remarked. “Look very carefully to what’s happened on the way to the events we are looking at,” he advised. Doctors and nurses must watch, record, and communicate to spot issues before they become serious, but this can be challenging if a unit is “understaffed and overworked.”
He claimed that in some instances, the care given to newborns at the Countess of Chester was “suboptimal,” with staff members being held accountable for mistakes and occasionally “unacceptable” delays in procedures.
Mr. Myers claimed that in one instance, involving Child J, “the hospital was well out of its depth” when it came to caring for her.
He continued, “We say there were issues with the performance of this unit, and they are unrelated to Lucy Letby.”
He cited the significant number of children who recovered well once they were moved away from the Countess of Chester Hospital.
‘The improvement in some of these children is evidence of how it did not always deliver the level of care it should have provided. To turn it back on Lucy Letby is unfair and inaccurate.’
Mr Myers added: ‘The defence say that Lucy Letby was a dedicated nurse. She trained hard to be a neo-natal nurse and what she wanted was to care for babies she looked after.
‘In no way did she want to harm them. The defence say she is not guilty of causing intentional harm to any baby or to killing any baby.
‘She loved her job. She cared deeply about the babies and also cared for their families.
‘She had a fulfilling life, had friends, a life outside work. You won’t get the answers to this case looking at this woman in the dock now. This is how she is and where she is six years after starting to face allegations like this.
‘You can imagine that must be utterly gruelling for anyone. This is an important part of her case. The requirement to keep context in mind and to distinguish how she was when events were said to have taken place, compared to how she is now.
‘With these allegations we are dealing with a real person who is where she is now. Anyone who approaches this as some kind of a done deal has got this very badly wrong.’
Letby (pictured) was today accused of taking a photograph of the dead babies in a cot when they died within 24 hours of each other in June 2016
Mr Myers said the jury had been shown Letby’s text messages, her Facebook searches on the families of babies she is alleged to have harmed and, ‘pieces of paper’, and mentioned ‘amateur psychology’.
But he said the ‘foundation’ of the case is medical evidence.
He told the court: ‘What the case will come down to is the medical evidence and what it can safely prove and what it can’t and what we can safely conclude.’
Mr Myers said causes of a baby’s deterioration or death are not always clear and there may be a number of reasons.
In this situation, the newborns were “clinically delicate,” and their states may “alter very suddenly and deteriorate very rapidly,” he continued.
The baby’s birth condition, whether there were any issues with the child’s health or care, whether the evidence shows that intentional harm was done, whether Letby was present at the pertinent time, and whether there were shortcomings in other people’s or the unit’s overall care are the five main issues, according to him.
A grid with the names of the staff members who were on duty across the top and the names of the children allegedly attacked across one side was the prosecution exhibit that Mr. Myers displayed to the jury.
An X indicated that Letby was working at the time that a kid was allegedly hurt or murdered, eight times during day shifts and sixteen times during night shifts.
However, Mr. Myers claimed that this material was “self-serving.”
He claimed that it did not reflect the care given to each child, the health of the infant in question, the collapses of babies while Letby was away, the unit’s busyness, or Letby’s activities at the time of each incident.
According to Mr. Myers, the defense will examine the prosecution’s expert medical testimony to determine whether it establishes that harm was purposefully caused.
According to him, there is a risk that an expert will be persuaded to provide an explanation in circumstances like this.
The jury was informed that this was an example of “confirmation bias” and that it could lead to a “harm-based” explanation, which may not be the sole reason.
Doctors and medical experts don’t always have the answers, Mr. Myers continued.
“Miss Letby cannot be held accountable for a specific event simply because she cannot explain it.”
The defense argument was then presented by Mr. Myers on each count of murder and attempted murder, and he concluded by saying that Miss Letby adamantly maintains that she did not injure the babies on purpose.
According to him, the defense does not accept that an air embolus, or air bubble, was the cause of death in the case of Baby A, the first murder charge. Letby is charged with giving the youngster air injections.
Mr. Myers referred to the treatment of kid A on the unit as “sub-obtimal” in a “nice” manner.
It was a “excellent illustration” of the “assumption of guilt” with Baby B, who was Baby A’s twin sister and who Letby is accused of trying to kill, according to Mr. Myers, who also noted that experts had been “affected by the theory of harm.”
Letby is accused of killing Baby C by injecting him with air through a nose tube. Baby C was a baby boy.
Mr Myers said C was a ‘very premature’ baby, born at 30 weeks and weighing only 800g.
According to him, C should have been at a specialized children’s hospital because such infants are especially susceptible to illness.
Letby is accused of using air to murder Baby D, a baby girl.
According to Mr. Myers, the hospital didn’t offer sufficient care.
There is greater proof, according to him, that an infection contributed to Baby D’s death rather than Letby killing her with air, and it is “without doubt” that she should have received antibiotics hours before she was treated with them.
Ben Myers KC to the jury that the Crown claimed Letby attacked Baby E in front of his mother and fatally injected him with air.
He declared: “We feel there is no obvious explanation for what transpired in his situation. Because of this, it is improper to rely on the presumption of guilt.
He next discussed claims that Letby attempted to poison Baby L and Baby F with insulin in order to kill them. Baby F is the twin of Baby E. The attorney claimed that “nothing in fact” supported any such acts.
who is accused of murdering seven premature babies and trying to kill ten more – took up to three attempts to poison infants by injecting insulin, milk or even air into their tiny bodies, a court heard today
Baby G – who Letby is accused of attempting to murder on three occasions – was an ‘extremely premature’ baby who was ‘high risk’ with predicted problems, he said.
The defence did not accept Letby did anything to contribute to Baby G’s health problems in the neonatal unit.
Baby H, said to be have been attacked by Letby twice, was another example of ‘sub-optimal care’ by the Countess of Chester Hospital and ‘nothing to do with Lucy Letby’, he said.
Ben Myers KC said the defence did not accept Letby caused any harm to Child I, a baby girl she is said to have tried to kill on three occasions before she succeeded on the fourth attempt.
He said: ‘We will say her collapses and ultimately death were part of a series of clinical problems which may well have been inevitable given her extreme prematurity.’
Mr Myers said the Countess of Chester Hospital was ‘well out of its depth’ with Child J – who Letby is said to have tried to murder – and knowing how to treat her.
He said an assumption of deliberate harm had been made rather than an alternative explanation of a baby receiving inadequate care.
Child K – subject of another count of attempted murder – was said to have been harmed with the deliberate dislodging of a breathing tube, but Mr Myers said the probable cause was the child inadvertently moving the tube herself.
Her case was another example of ‘sub-optimal care’ in that she should have been treated at a more specialist unit, Mr Myers said, adding: ‘She should not have been in the Countess of Chester in the first place.
In total, Letby is accused of murdering seven premature babies and attacking 10 more over the course of a year by poisoning them with insulin, injecting air into their bloodstreams or over-feeding them milk.
Baby P suffered a sudden and ‘acute deterioration’ before preparations were put in place to move him to another hospital, the court heard today.
Just before the planned transfer, a doctor was said to be ‘optimistic’ about his prospects but then ‘all of a sudden Lucy Letby said to him something like ‘he’s not leaving alive here, is he?”, said prosecutor Nick Johnson KC said today. Shortly after that exchange Baby P collapsed and died, Manchester Crown Court heard.
The KC said said: ‘That remark surprised (the doctor) but Lucy Letby’s prediction came true. After all, she knew what she had done to him and therefore she knew what was likely to happen. It is certainly what she intended because it was something she had done to so many other children.’
A coroner recorded the death as ‘prematurity’ but independent experts who were tasked with reviewing Child P’s case said the most likely cause was air injected into his stomach which compromised his breathing.
After Child P’s death, Letby spent time with his parents and took a picture. She denies murdering seven babies and the attempted murder of ten more.
The final incident, outlined by prosecutor Nick Johnson QC, was the alleged attempted murder by Lucy Letby of Baby Q on June 25 2016, the day after she allegedly killed baby P.
The Crown say the neo-natal nurse injected Baby Q with excess air and a clear fluid, possibly water or saline, into his stomach via a nasogastric tube in a bid to murder him.
The youngster was later transferred to another hospital, where he went on to make a ‘rapid recovery’ when removed from the ‘orbit of Lucy Letby’, said the prosecutor.
Mr Johnson said that following the events of June 2015 to June 2016, the consultants suspected the deaths and life-threatening collapses of the 17 children were ‘not medically explicable and were the result of the actions of Lucy Letby’.
The prosecutor told jurors: ‘No doubt they were acutely aware that making such an allegation against a nurse was as serious as it gets.
‘They did not, at the time, have the benefit of the evidence that you are going to hear and the decision was made by the hospital to remove Lucy Letby from a hands-on role.
‘She was moved to clerical duties where she would not come into contact with children.’
The police were contacted and a ‘very lengthy and complex’ investigation followed which involved instructing independent paediatricians and other specialists to review many cases that passed through the neo-natal unit, the court heard.
Letby’s parents, Susan and John, are supporting her at her six-month trial at Manchester Crown Court.
She denies all 22 charges. The hearing continues.
by: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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