Tuesday, 27 Feb 2024

Police blast Letby as a plain, ‘beige’ personality who murdered ‘in plain sight’

Detectives who brought “sinister” Lucy Letby to justice told the Daily Express they still have a crucial, gnawing question left agonisingly unanswered …. “why?”

What sparked the cossetted only child to kill again and again, murdering “in plain sight”, acting under the “cover of trust”, each time honing her cold-blooded actions for the next helpless tot?

For Cheshire Police, what started out as a team of eight quickly increased and, at the height of the investigation, featured almost 70 officers and civilian staff working together.

And it’s not over yet with the investigation continuing as police review the treatment of up to 4,000 babies Letby could theoretically have had contact with at Liverpool Women’s and Countess of Chester hospitals.

The Operation Hummingbird probe has been so vast, Cheshire Police successfully requested an extra Home Office Special Grant to help fund it as over six years they scoured through 32,000 pages of evidence as well as thousands of pages of medical records.

READ MORE Lucy Letby ‘gaslighted colleagues to hide role in baby deaths’

Around 2,000 people were spoken to in order to gather as much information as possible – this has included staff at the Countess of Chester Hospital who worked with Letby.

In total 246 medical staff were identified as prosecution witnesses for the trial – although not all were needed in the end. During Letby’s arrests around 30 hours of video interviews were captured.

Every single text message she had ever sent, every Facebook post she wrote or engaged with, every digital or paper form she ever filled in was read and analysed by cops.

Prosecution medical experts included specialists in paediatric radiology, paediatric pathology, haematology, paediatric neurology and paediatric endocrinology – with two main consultant paediatricians giving opinions on each victim.

But despite all the exhaustive evidence gathering and experts, Cheshire Police admitted they are still desperate to know what motivated Letby to launch her murder spree.

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At a pre-verdict press conference, Det Supt Paul Hughes and Det Chief Insp Nicola Evans told the Daily Express: “The answer is we would like to know that and the only person who can answer is Lucy Letby herself.”

DCI Evans explained: “Letby was operating in plain sight, abusing the trust of the people around her. Not just the parents but the people she regarded as friends. She was co-operative in those police interviews but what we had was a continual denial and we may never know what that motive is. For Paul and I that’s really hard to take.”

And damningly – or tellingly – when asked how she would describe the notorious killer in one word, DCI Evans remarked: “Beige. There isn’t anything outstanding or outrageous about her as a person.

“There isn’t anything unusual I can say we have found. She has a healthy social life and a circle of friends, parents and holidays, nothing we have found that has been unusual. Clearly there was a massive deceit going on.

“She was an average nurse, a normal 20-something-old doing what she was doing with her friends but there was another side that no one saw

“There’s been a lack of emotion from her in relation to the babies – yet no-one can listen to what we heard and not feel a level of sadness. She has chosen to be evasive. If I was alone in a room with Lucy Letby now I would probably say nothing to her.”

The two senior officers explained the unique complexity of this case, was that at first doctors had suspicions over the deaths of some babies but no hard evidence any had been attacked.

DCI Evans said: “Usually murder investigations start with a crime but we started with babies being born and then seeing if a crime had been committed.

“The process of telling the families that something suspicious had happened had to be right. We had to establish what that crime was.

“We hoped we wouldn’t find criminal offences as it’s really hard for everybody to believe someone would do this.”

Det Supt Hughes explained that the families naturally feel devastatingly betrayed by “sinister” Letby, yet at the time of the incidents none had any suspicions over her care of their babies.

He added: “None of them had any suspicions towards Lucy Letby. We had a number of hypotheses about what could have happened and challenged through peer review to find a reason (for a baby dying). We kept looking for the explanation that said ‘that’s ok – you’ve had a sad loss but it’s explainable’.

“When we eventually charged Letby and we told our team there was a massive silence and I didn’t know emotionally how to deal with that.”

Praising the strength of the babies families in supporting each other, DCI Evans added: “I have been overwhelmed during the trial with the compassion they’ve shown each other.

“Listening to the evidence has been gut wrenching, Sitting on the side and watching them all and the courage they have shown has been overwhelming. They didn’t have any suspicions, why would they? The case is heartbreaking and you don’t need to be a parent to feel that.

“Coming with that was an overwhelming responsibility, to give them answers they deserve about what happened to their babies.”

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