Moment police officer who spent six years bringing killer nurse Lucy Letby to justice holds back tears outside court as she says the families’ babies ‘will forever be in our hearts’
- DCI Nicola Evans thanks families who helped to secure conviction
- Visibly emotional, she hails the bereaved families for ‘exceptional resilience’
- READ MORE: Lucy Letby, 33, found guilty of murdering seven babies
The police officer who helped lead an investigation into Lucy Letby held back tears as she vowed that the killer nurse’s victims ‘will forever be in our hearts’.
Letby, 33, was today found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to kill another six, making her one of the country’s worst child serial killers.
Following the verdicts, which were reached over a number of days starting earlier this month, Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Evans made a statement to reporters outside Manchester Crown Court.
DCI Evans, who has been deputy senior investigating officer on the case, was visibly upset, and at times audibly had to catch her breath, her voice breaking, as she spoke to the press.
Thanking the families of those who lost very young children to the vicious nurse, DCI Evans, of Cheshire Constabulary, said: ‘I speak on behalf of all of the prosecution team when I say that all of their babies will forever be in our hearts.’
DCI Hughes made a statement to reporters outside Manchester Crown Court
Lucy Letby has been convicted of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder another six while working at the Countess of Chester Hospital
DCI Nicola Evans (centre) was visibly emotional as she read out a statement thanking the families of Letby’s young victims for their ‘exceptional resilience and strength’ throughout the investigation, which ultimately secured seven murder convictions
The deputy senior investigating officer was visibly emotional as she read out her statement, audibly pausing to catch her breath
She added: ‘I would like to thank all of the families in this case for their exceptional resilience and strength throughout this entire investigation, their composure and their dignity during this trial has been truly overwhelming.
‘The investigation into the circumstances surrounding this case started in May 2017, since that time hundreds of witnesses have been spoken to by a team of dedicated detectives.
‘Many of those witnesses have returned to court on numerous occasions to give evidence, without their honesty and their support the families would not have received the justice that they have received today.
READ MORE: Lucy Letby is GUILTY of murdering seven babies: Neonatal nurse, 33, weeps as she is convicted of taking the lives of premature newborns in horrific hospital killing spree – to become the most prolific baby murderer in modern British history
‘I cannot begin to imagine how the families in this case feel today, I just hope that today’s verdicts bring all of them some peace of mind for the future, and that we have answered some of the questions that they were looking for.
‘Cheshire Constabulary will continue to support all of the families in this case in the coming days and weeks ahead, there will be a period of reflection as everybody comes to terms with what they’ve experienced here today.’
Police are now investigating 4,000 admissions made into neo-natal units at the Countess of Chester Hospital and at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital, where Letby spent time training, between 2012 to 2016.
The probe is a continuation of Operation Hummingbird, the investigation into the deaths and non-fatal collapses at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
‘This does not mean we are investigating all 4,000, it just means that we are committed to a thorough review of every admission from a medical perspective, to ensure that nothing is missed throughout the entirety of her employment as a nurse,’ said Detective Superintendent Paul Hughes, who led the investigation.
In a statement released separately via Cheshire Constabulary, DCI Evans added: ‘Today is not a time for celebration. There are no winners in this case.
‘Our focus right now is very much on the families of the babies. The compassion and strength shown by the parents – and wider family members – has been overwhelming.
‘Today is all about them – and we must not lose sight of that. I cannot begin to imagine how the families in this case feel today. We will all take some time to reflect on today’s verdict both the guilty and the not guilty verdicts.
‘I would like to say thank you to the families for putting their trust in us and I hope that this process has provided them with some of the answers they have been waiting for.
‘We will continue to work closely with each of the families in the days and weeks ahead in order to ensure they have the support they all require in light of everything they have experienced.
‘My thoughts – and those of the whole prosecution team – remain with them at this incredibly difficult time.’
DCI Evans (centre) addresses reporters as she makes a statement on Lucy Letby’s conviction outside Manchester Crown Court
Lucy Letby has been found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder another six following a prolonged trial at Manchester Crown Court
Lucy Letby being arrested for the first time in July 2018 in connection with Operation Hummingbird, the Cheshire Police probe that ultimately brought her to justice. She was arrested twice more before she was charged
An undated handout of a cot in the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neo-natal unit where Lucy Letby worked. The black circles on the images were added by police
A court sketch of Lucy Letby giving evidence in the dock at Manchester Crown Court earlier this year. Her defence counsel claimed there was a vendetta against her at the hospital
Letby, who qualified in September 2011 after graduating from university, used a variety of methods to target the victims – injecting the babies with air and poisoning them with insulin as well as over feeding them with milk.
In court the prosecution had claimed that Letby was a competent nurse who knew exactly what she was doing when she deliberately harmed the babies in her care.
The defence argued that there was no evidence to suggest Letby had inflicted harm on any baby, citing ‘sub-optimal care’ by the hospital, issues with poor hygiene and a campaign of conspiracy against the defendant by a number of senior doctors as reasons for the deaths and non-fatal collapses.
But inside her messy, childlike home, police found a ‘treasure trove’ of souvenirs linked to the babies she killed, including a Post-It note on which she had scrawled: ‘I am evil, I did this.’
After 10 months and 110 hours of deliberating the jury dismissed Letby’s version of events and agreed that she was responsible.
During the investigation, Cheshire detectives gathered 32,000 pages of evidence and ran through medical records thousands of pages long.
The force estimates that it interviewed around 2,000 people, including staff who worked with Letby, and around 250 of them were identified as witnesses for the prosecution when Letby was finally brought to court.
DCI Evans added: ‘The details of this case are truly crushing. A trained nurse responsible for caring and protecting tiny, premature babies; a person who was in a position of trust, she abused that trust in the most unthinkable way.
‘I cannot begin to understand what the families have had to endure over the past seven or eight years but we have been humbled by their composure and resilience throughout this whole process.’
In all, Letby was arrested three times – in July 2018, June 2019 and November 2020, after which she was charged.
Guilty verdicts were handed down between August 8 and today – though Letby did not appear in court for the final verdicts given on Friday after telling her legal team she did not want to attend.
She was acquitted of two charges of attempted murder while jurors could not agree on six other suspected attacks.
A court order prohibits reporting of the identities of the surviving and dead children who were the subject of the allegations.
A flag flew at half-mast outside the Countess of Chester Hospital today.
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