Could Lucy Letby have been stopped sooner? The missed opportunities to catch a killer revealed

Serial killer nurse Lucy Letby was free to goal infants for almost a 12 months after she murdered her first affected person as hospital leaders repeatedly ignored considerations raised by whistleblowers, The Impartial has discovered.

Workers raised considerations over three “unexplained” child deaths on the Countess of Chester Hospital in July 2015 however well being chiefs failed to examine the allegations, a number of hospital insiders have claimed.

Letby’s murderous rampage had began the month earlier than and he or she went on to goal one other 14 infants over the subsequent 12 months. The former nurse, 33, has now been discovered responsible of murdering seven infants and trying to homicide six others – changing into Britain’s most prolific youngster killer.

An exterior evaluation into the hospital, set to be revealed after the trial, is anticipated to discover a number of failures by the belief’s management to act on warnings, The Impartial understands.

The mother and father of 1 child, Youngster L, who she tried to homicide with insulin, have additionally known as for a public inquiry into the belief’s failings.

A number of hospital sources informed The Impartial:

  • Medical doctors alerted managers to three unexplained deaths in July and October 2015 however they weren’t investigated
  • Workers raised Letby’s presence at a string of suspicious deaths – however hospital executives ignored the difficulty for 3 months and two extra infants died
  • One other senior medic raised considerations over Letby in a formal assembly with executives in Could 2016 however no motion was taken
  • Some medical doctors had been mentioned to be “suicidal” as a result of “considerations weren’t being heard”
  • Belief leaders allegedly informed paediatricians not to go to the police as a result of “will probably be dangerous for the belief’s status”.


One senior supply working on the hospital mentioned: “There was a run of three uncommon deaths that occurred out of the blue and in infants who had been steady.

“There was additionally one close to miss with a child who had an surprising, unexplained collapse however recovered. In July 2015, these circumstances had been reviewed, and it was flagged as uncommon.”

They added: “Though the affiliation with Letby’s [presence] was seen, no person was actually enthusiastic about someone inflicting deliberate hurt.”

Months later, in October 2015, medical doctors flagged to senior managers that “issues had been persevering with to occur” within the neonatal unit with no clarification. However that these had been thought of to be a “blip”, the supply mentioned.

One other supply mentioned: “There was that lack of curiosity about analyzing their loss of life and incident information; it was sitting there for everybody to see.

“No person sought to perceive it. By the point they obtained to October 2015, there was sufficient regarding information in that that they had a variety of deaths to clarify and there was a lack of deal with incidents the place infants had collapsed.”

Letby’s presence at time of deaths was famous early on

(Chester Customary/SWNS)

Senior medical doctors carried out a evaluation in February 2016 by which they may discover no frequent medical cause for the unexplained deaths. However they famous Letby was current on every event.

A supply with information of that evaluation mentioned: “So far as I’m conscious, these findings from that high-level evaluation weren’t acted upon. I don’t assume the findings had been shared in any respect.

A second supply added: “It was famous that the presence of Letby in any respect these occasions was there, however not [again], essentially accusation of causality.”

Medical doctors then requested a assembly with the hospital administrators to talk about their considerations concerning the nurse however this didn’t occur till Could, sources mentioned – throughout which era two infants had been murdered.


A number of sources described the behaviour of the senior executives – together with then chief nurse Alison Kelly – as “protecting” and “defensive” when considerations had been raised by concerning the infants’ deaths and Letby’s presence.

In Could 2016, after medical doctors lastly met executives, sources claimed no motion was taken over Letby with leaders allegedly saying “let’s see how issues go”. She remained on frontline duties till June of that 12 months when she was moved to an admin function.

Colleagues at Countess of Chester Hospital struggled to escalate considerations over Letby


An insider mentioned: “Had that assembly with senior executives occurred earlier in February 2016 quite than Could, issues may have been completely different.”


All through 2016, paediatricians continued to increase considerations, with one supply describing some medical doctors as feeling “suicidal as a result of their considerations weren’t being heard”.

It could not be till a 12 months later in 2017 that medical doctors declare they had been allowed to speak to the police about their considerations over the infant deaths and Letby. She was arrested in July 2018.

One supply alleges paediatricians had been informed by belief leaders in late 2016 – after the infants’ deaths – that in the event that they reported considerations to the police “that’ll be the tip of the unit and will probably be dangerous for the belief’s status”.

The second Letby was arrested over the infant deaths

(Cheshire Police)

“You possibly can’t mitigate for dangerous folks,” the supply continued. “They’re from all walks of life, they usually’re excellent at hiding in plain sight. However, what you possibly can mitigate for is when these folks get noticed, what occurs to the individuals who had been making an attempt to blow the whistle and you understand, what are the responses of the folks from the highest?”

Wider failings

Wider considerations had been raised concerning the NHS and belief’s strategy to recording child deaths on the time.

One supply mentioned a nationwide database of Sudden Surprising Demise in Childhood was in use however that the infants’ deaths weren’t recorded underneath this.

The supply mentioned: “It was round then when they need to have mentioned ‘infants had been dying and close to dying right here and we don’t know why’. As an alternative of being open and searching into that, they simply blamed the individuals who had been elevating the considerations and it’s arduous to perceive why that’s.”

Letby killed a number of infants whereas hospital leaders ignored considerations

(Cheshire Constabulary)

A evaluation by the Royal School of Paediatrics and Youngster Well being was commissioned by the belief’s medical director Ian Harvey in June 2016 to have a look at the cluster of deaths.

The report, completed in November 2016 and seen by The Impartial, famous there have been a number of areas the place the belief failed to correctly report neonatal deaths.

It additionally raised “considerations” that the deaths weren’t reported or picked up by the kid loss of life overview panel, which is a native authority-run service that investigates deaths in hospitals and communities.

The evaluation famous that “employees had been distressed over the deaths and affected by the actions taken in response to considerations”.

A number of whistleblowers additionally highlighted a missed alternative when considerations had been raised to the Care High quality Fee which inspected the hospital in February 2016.

Sources mentioned medical doctors informed the CQC that they had affected person security considerations they usually weren’t ready to get executives to “take them severely”.

Dr Sean O’Kelly, CQC’s chief inspector of healthcare, mentioned the CQC’s crew acquired considerations from hospital employees about a lack of help from administration after they tried to communicate up and that inspectors straight highlighted the difficulty to senior belief employees.

Former chief government Tony Chambers informed The Impartial that the February 2016 evaluation didn’t determine any frequent themes, though some themes occured in a couple of child, which triggered a assembly with different senior hospital employees.

He mentioned it was highlighted that Letby had been current in additional circumstances than different employees, however he added: “There was no proof apart from coincidence and what was described as ‘intestine feeling’.”

He added that there have been uncommon blood check outcomes after the collapse of Child L, however considerations weren’t raised. He mentioned the outcome “would have materially altered the main target of subsequent inquiries and actions if that they had been raised with me or every other senior supervisor in August 2015”.

Mr Chambers additionally informed The Impartial he isn’t conscious the CQC raised any situation with him on the time. He mentioned the intense allegations associated straight to Letby had been escalated to him for the primary time in June 2016 and that motion was taken.

In the meantime, a belief spokesman mentioned: “Since Lucy Letby labored at our hospital, we have made vital adjustments to our companies. I would like to present reassurance that each affected person who accesses our companies can have confidence within the care they may obtain.”

Alison Kelly mentioned in a assertion: “It’s unimaginable to think about the heartache suffered by the households concerned and my ideas are very a lot with them.

“These are actually horrible crimes and I’m deeply sorry that this occurred to them.

“We owe it to the infants and their households to be taught classes and I’ll absolutely cooperate with the unbiased inquiry introduced.”

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