Lucy Letby was ‘very skilled in brainwashing’ colleagues
Reviewing lawyer speaks of Ms Letby ‘covering her tracks’ as the nurse is found guilty of seven murders and six attempted murders after nine-month trial
Lucy Letby ‘brainwashed’ her colleagues at the Countess of Chester Hospital into thinking nothing sinister was happening at the neonatal unit, a reviewing lawyer has said.
The Manchester Crown Court trial heard from the prosecution how Ms Letby ‘gaslighted’ doctors and nurses alike in persuading them ‘what they knew in their heart of hearts to be utterly abnormal was just a run of bad luck’.
‘She was cunning with her ability to cover her tracks’
Following the jury’s guilty verdicts, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) reviewing lawyer Pascale Jones told the PA news agency: ‘She was cunning with her ability to cover her tracks and to act as a propagandist with her colleagues.
‘A chill went down my spine when I was reviewing the triplets’ case of babies O and P, and having just killed baby O and compromised baby P she texts her mate to say “worry as identical”.
‘I thought “oh my god”, if there is an example of premeditation you have got it there. All the time trying to say to her colleagues “don’t have any concerns it’s all normal”.
‘That’s the narrative she peddled and she was very skilled in brainwashing everybody in this sort of propaganda tactic that she was pursuing the whole time – “don’t question what’s happening, this is all normal, there is an explanation for everything, there is an element of fate”.’
Consultants had expressed concerns to management
Ms Letby’s trial also heard that consultants who raised concerns about her were told by hospital bosses to apologise to her formally in writing.
This came after Ms Letby was reassigned to clerical duties after two triplet boys died under her care and another baby boy collapsed on three successive days in June 2016.
The unit’s head consultant Dr Stephen Brearey first raised Ms Letby’s association to an increase in baby collapses in June 2015 and, together with another consultant Dr Ravi Jayaram, continued to express concerns to management as more sudden and unexpected collapses followed.
Following the death of a baby girl in October 2015, the medics highlighted the year’s mortality rate.
Dr Jayaram told the court: ‘We had significant concerns from the autumn of 2015. They were on the radar of someone as senior as the executive director of nursing as far back as October 2015.’
Consultant talks of pressure ‘not to make a fuss’
Dr Brearey went on to commission an independent neonatologist from Liverpool Women’s Hospital to analyse the increased mortality rate.
The thematic review, concluded in February 2016, did not identify a reason for the rise in deaths.
However, concerns remained about Ms Letby as a ‘common link’ during all the collapses and deaths. Dr Brearey sent copies of the report to nursing director Alison Kelly and medical director Ian Harvey.
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Dr Jayaram told the court there was no response from bosses for another three months.
He added: ‘We were also beginning to get a reasonable amount of pressure from senior management at the hospital not to make a fuss.’
Ms Letby found guilty of seven murders
Fellow consultant Dr John Gibbs told the court that after Ms Letby was reassigned to clerical duties, the consultants had to ‘resolutely resist’ attempts by management to return her to the unit up to the point when police launched an investigation in May 2017.
Ms Letby was found guilty on 18 August of the murder of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
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