Who is Lucy Letby and what did she do? The trial of the neonatal nurse explained

Not sure who Lucy Letby is? We explain what you need to know about the neonatal nurse who has been found guilty of murdering seven babies at the Countess of Chester hospital.

A court artist sketch of Lucy Letby, who is currently on trial
(Image credit: Alamy)

Many are asking who Lucy Letby is after her trial and subsequent conviction have dominated headlines.

Lucy Letby, 33, who first appeared in court back in October, has been found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six more during her time working as a neonatal nurse at the Countess of Chester hospital in Cheshire. Her crimes make her one of the most prolific child killers in modern British history.

Following the trial at Manchester Crown Court, high-profile coverage from the media has meant the details of Letby's 22 charges have become widespread knowledge. And the proceedings have left many asking who is Lucy Letby, what did she do and when will she be sentenced?

Who is Lucy Letby?

Lucy Letby is a former neonatal nurse at the Countess of Chester Hospital, in Cheshire, who has been found guilty of murdering seven babies - five boys and two girls - during her time as a nurse.

She was born in Hereford in January 1990 and completed a nursing degree at Chester University in 2011. She completed training placements in Liverpool Women's Hospital before joining the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital in January 2012.

A sign outside the Countess of Chester Hospital

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Letby was first arrested in July 2018, and then again in June 2019 and November 2020 when she was charged with murdering seven babies and attempting to kill another 10 between June 2015 and July 2016.

Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Evans, the deputy senior investigating officer, said of Letby, "She had a normal job, she was average in that job, she had a group of friends and a family and a social life, nothing that you wouldn't expect from someone of her age at that time.

"The fact she was non-descript and average in work allowed her to go under the radar and commit these offences.

"There wasn't anything outrageous about her, there wasn't anything that stood out about her, she was beige or vanilla. She was present but not featured."

What did Lucy Letby do?

Lucy Letby has been found guilty of seven counts of murder and seven of attempted murder, involving six babies.  She was acquitted on two counts of attempted murder, while jurors were unable to reach verdicts on six further attempted murder charges. She denied all 22 charges against her.

In 2015, there was a significant rise in the number of babies dying and suffering serious collapses at the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital. Letby used several methods to kill or severely injure the helpless victims - including overfeeding with milk, forcing air into their stomachs, and injecting air into their bloodstreams.

Nick Johnson KC opened the prosecution on the morning of Monday 10 October, saying: "Prior to January 2015, the statistics for the mortality of babies in the neo-natal unit at the Countess of Chester were comparable to other like units. However, over the next 18 months or so, there was a significant rise in the number of babies who were dying and in the number of serious catastrophic collapses.

"Having searched for a cause, which they were unable to find, the consultants noticed that the inexplicable collapses and deaths did have one common denominator - the presence of one of the neonatal nurses, and that nurse was Lucy Letby."

Mr Johnson also told the court that as medics could not account for the collapses and deaths, police were called in and conducted a "painstaking review", which suggested that somebody in the neonatal unit poisoned two children with insulin.

Letby denied any wrongdoing and blamed the hospital and doctors working there, but the jury convicted her of seven murders and seven attempted killings. Two of the attempted murder convictions refer to the same baby.

Police said they had been unable to find a motive for the attacks, saying their focus had been on providing answers to the parents and families of her victims.

"Unfortunately, I don't think we'll ever know unless she just chooses to tell us," said Detective Superintendent Paul Hughes, who led the investigation.

Where is Lucy Letby now?

Lucy Letby has remained in custody since her third arrest in November 2020. Since October 2022, she has been on trial at Manchester Crown Court, but her sentencing on Monday 21 August 2023 will see her receive a mandatory life sentence, and she will likely spend the majority of her life in prison.

Letby could become only the third woman alive to be handed a whole life order, alongside Rose West and Joanna Christine Dennehy. West was convicted of 10 murders in 1995 alongside her husband Fred, while Dennehey stabbed three men to death and dumped their bodies in ditches outside Peterborough in March 2013.

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.