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Nurse accused of baby murders wrote note saying ‘I killed them on purpose’

Lucy Letby denies murdering seven babies and attempting to murder another 10 at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neo-natal unit

Kim Pilling
Thursday 27 April 2023 12:56 BST
Nurse Lucy Letby denies murder and attempted murder
Nurse Lucy Letby denies murder and attempted murder (Supplied)

A nurse accused of murdering seven babies told police “everything had got on top of me” when she wrote a note saying: “I killed them on purpose.”

On a Post-it note, Lucy Letby wrote: “I don’t deserve to live. I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them.”

She added “I am a horrible evil person” and in capital letters “I am evil I did this”.

Letby, 33, is on trial at Manchester Crown Court, where she also faces allegations she attempted to murder 10 other infants at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit.

On Thursday, jurors were read more excerpts from police interviews with the defendant following her arrest.

Asked about the Post-it note – found inside a diary at her home in Chester after her arrest in 2018 – she told detectives: “I just wrote it because everything had got on top of me.

“It was when I’d not long found out I’d been removed from the unit and they were telling me my practice might be wrong, that I needed to read all my competencies – my practice might not have been good enough.

“So I felt like people were blaming my practice, that I might have hurt them without knowing through my practice, and that made me feel guilty and I just felt really isolated.

“I was blaming myself but not because I’d done something (but) because of the way people were making me feel.

“But like I’d only ever done my best for those babies and then people were trying to say that my practice wasn’t good, that I’d done something.

“I just couldn’t cope and I just did not want to be here any more.

“I just felt it was, it was all just spiralling out of control, I just didn’t know how to feel about it or what was going to happen or what to do.”

The detective asked: “What people were they?”

Letby replied: “The Trust and the staff on the unit.”

The detective said: “Did you ever make any mistakes?”

“No,” replied Letby.

Letby appeared strained at times in the dock as she listened to the interviews being read out.

She wiped away tears with a tissue as the court heard her explanation as to why she had written: “I’ll never have children or marry, I’ll never know what it’s like to have a family.”

The detective asked: “What did you mean by that Lucy?”

Court artist sketch of Lucy Letby appearing in the dock at Manchester Crown Court where she is charged with the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of another 10 (Elizabeth Cook/PA) (PA Wire)

Letby replied: “Just that I’d never meet anybody and therefore I’d never have a family.

“Because nobody would want to. If you say to somebody you had to be redeployed then people make assumptions, don’t they, and if my practice had caused these problems then I wouldn’t deserve to have children myself.”

The detective said: “Purely because you had been redeployed off one unit?”

Letby said: “Yeah, because at the time it was huge.”

The detective said: “Where you say ‘kill myself right now’, is that something you were considering?”

“Yes,” said Letby.

The detective said: “And why was that?”

Letby said: “Cos I just felt so isolated and alone.”

The detective asked: “In your own mind had you done anything wrong at all?”

Letby said: “No, not intentionally, but I was worried that they would find that my practice hadn’t been good…”

The detective said: “What made you think they might find something that was wrong or that you shouldn’t have done?”

A note found in the house of Lucy Letby (CPS/PA) (PA Media)

Letby said: “It was more that I was worried they’d already gone to the lengths of redeploying me and moved me from the unit and banning contact, I didn’t know how it was gonna go.

“I didn’t think they’d find that I’d been incompetent but I was worried that they might try and assume that I had been just because I was there for all of these babies.”

She said she had met with the head of nursing in July and was told “there had been a lot more deaths and that I’d been linked as somebody that was there for a lot of them”.

Letby said: “They also said that there was some other people that had flagged as being on shift for a lot of them and that myself and these other people are gonna have to be going and redoing our competencies.”

Asked why she wrote “slander, discrimination and victimisation” on the note, she replied: “Cos I felt that the trust and the team were trying to imply that it, it was something I’d done.”

She added: “I’d lost everything and obviously mum and dad were down in Hereford… and I thought we were a good team regardless of who was my friends, we were a good nursing team on the unit and I’d just lost that. We were like a little family.”

The detective asked: “How would you describe the thing (the note) as a whole?”

Letby said: “It was just a way of me getting my feelings out on to paper, it just helps me process it a bit more.

“I felt if my practice hadn’t been right then I had killed them and that was why I wasn’t good enough.”

The sympathy card that was shown to the jury in the Lucy Letby murder trial at Manchester Crown Court (Cheshire Constabulary/CPS/PA) (PA Media)

The detective said: “In what way do you think your practice might have been the reason why these babies have died?”

Letby said: “I didn’t know, I thought maybe I’d missed something, maybe I hadn’t acted quickly enough.”

The detective went on: “And you felt evil?”

Letby replied: “Other people would perceive me as being evil, yes, if I had missed something.”

Asked why she wrote ‘I don’t deserve mum and dad’, she said: “I felt so guilty that they have to go through this, that I wasn’t good enough for them or any of them and it was all just becoming a big mess and I’d just be better off out of it for everybody.”

Letby said she was the first person in the family to go to university and move away from home.

She said her parents, John and Susan, were “disappointed” and “really, really upset” at her removal from the unit in July 2016.

She said they were close and she would speak to them “every day”.

Following the collapse of a baby on the unit she would speak to her mother, she said.

Letby said: “I wouldn’t talk to her about it in the level of detail I would with a colleague.

“I suppose I jut saw it was a safe way of me sort of offloading how I felt to someone I trusted.”

Letby, originally from Hereford, denies all the offences said to have taken place between June 2015 and June 2016.

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