How Lucy Letby's note to mum reveals 'demons which lay beneath girl-next-door persona'

in #baby3 months ago

Lucy Letby's note to a mum whose baby girl was under her care gives an insight into the "demons which lay beneath her girl-next-door persona", a handwriting expert has said.

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photo taken from https://unsplash.com/

A parent fears her daughter - who was born prematurely in September 2014, and later diagnosed with cerebral palsy - may have been left brain damaged by Letby, and is calling for police to investigate. She is also seeking to bring a claim against the Countess of Chester Hospital following the nurse's trial, where Letby was found guilty of murdering seven infants and attempting to murder six more between 2015 and 2016.

Following the guilty verdict, she unearthed a Polaroid picture taken by Letby of her baby sleeping in a hospital cot with a feeding tube detached from her nose, dated October 25, 2014. On the back of the image are the haunting words: "Caught in the act! [Baby's name] deciding she is a big girl now and doesn't need to be tube fed anymore! x"

The revelation comes as another mum, Emily Morris, calls for police to investigate the death of her one-month-old son Alvin, who passed in 2013 and was also cared for by Letby. According to the BBC, the nurse wrote a message in his christening book, which read: "To Alvin, with love on your special day." A handwriting expert has since confirmed that in her opinion, the nurse wrote both notes.

Screenshot 2023-09-23 at 15-31-36 Letby's note to mum conceals 'demons which lay beneath girl-next-door persona'.png

photo taken from https://unsplash.com/

Comparing the message about Alvin to that of the unsigned note on the polaroid left in 2014, Tracey Trussell, a consultant graphologist for Handright, told the Mirror: "There can be no doubt that the same author is responsible for writing both notes. The tell-tale clues: the spatial arrangement is the same, the size, slant, stretched letters, all identical. The i’s are all dotted, but impatiently slightly to the right, and the oversized letter s’s, penned significantly larger than other letters.

Screenshot 2023-09-23 at 15-31-55 Letby's note to mum conceals 'demons which lay beneath girl-next-door persona'.png

photo taken from https://unsplash.com/

"The smattering of straight downstroke y’s (one with a tiny tick at the base of the y in the 2014 unsigned note) sinisterly reveal a short fuse and lack of empathy). The l in ‘love’ (in Alvin’s note) is a dead ringer for the l in ‘girl’ in the anonymous note." She added: "We can even see some anxiety and transient depression creeping into the anonymous note, because the baselines begin to fall slightly and small ink blobs (seen under magnification) are revealed within letters, affecting the quality of the script."

Following her arrest, detectives found scrawlings in Letby's home which included phrases like "I am evil I did this", "I don't deserve Mum + Dad", "Hate myself" and "I am a horrible evil person". Ms Trussell, who said the writing matched the notes that were given to the two sets of parents, continued: "Looking at Letby’s personal notes and doodles produced in court, this underlines just how far she unravelled.

"The doodles are particularly revealing because they were penned for no one’s eyes but her own, and pertinently expose all the repressed emotions spilling out of the back of her mind. To conclude, I believe that the same author almost certainly penned all three notes - the unsigned 2014 one, one to Alvin, and one shown in court.

"We have the two formal styles of handwritten notes and the more relaxed personal notes and doodles (shown in court) that showcase a clear divide between what Letby projected publicly and how she behaved privately, revealing the demons which lay hiding beneath the girl-next-door persona."

A day after Letby left the 2014 note, the mum was preparing for her daughter to be discharged when she arrived to find alarms ringing and her health rapidly deteriorating. She said: "I screamed for them to open up the incubator to get an oxygen mask on her. She had to have a lumbar puncture, then was put back in intensive care. No infection was found." Around the time she was born, the woman's daughter had a brain scan and the results were clear, she said.

However, eight months later in May 2015, she visited a consultant after realising her daughter was struggling to sit upright. An MRI scan confirmed that she had brain damage with cerebral palsy. The parent continued: "There's never been an explanation. She was always being taken care of by Lucy or the head nurse had her - it was very rarely any other nurses. You sit all day looking at their incubator and don't really question anything. Nobody questions anything. I would sit and chat with Lucy.

Screenshot 2023-09-23 at 15-32-56 Letby's note to mum conceals 'demons which lay beneath girl-next-door persona'.png

photo taken from https://unsplash.com/

"One time when she was sat opposite me and looking after another premature baby she told me about going to university, her parents coming from Hertfordshire... it was all just so normal. She was just a lot quieter than the other nurses though. Where the other nurses would be chatting away, she was more of a loner. That was the only thing that seemed different about her but I just put down to her being very quiet."

Prior to Letby's first arrest, the mum received a cryptic text message from another nurse at the hospital - who had also cared for her daughter - saying that she was going to see a familiar face in the papers, and "not to believe everything you hear". The medic, understood to be good friends with Letby, also allegedly said that being arrested "is not the same as being charged".

The mum later got in contact with police to voice her concerns over Letby taking care of her daughter, and the lack of an explanation for her condition. She said: "Their first response was that it wasn't in the timeframe they were looking at. When they widened the dates slightly I emailed again, but they said 'it's not part of our investigation and we suggest you speak to her consultant'.

"I can't get my head around how the police can put a timescale on it. To me if you're a serial killer you're not one for a certain amount of time. How can they disregard all those babies just up to those time dates? It doesn't make sense. I feel that police looked at the babies that had died, not the ones that have cerebral palsy, brain damage, and other things."

On the day she found out Letby was guilty, the mum said she burst into tears. She continued: "All the hairs were sticking up on my arms. I just brought the photo out and read the back of it thinking 'it can't actually be'. Why would she take a picture of a child with a feeding tube hanging out its nose? If that ever happened nurses wouldn't leave it - they'd put it straight back. The feeding tube would go down her nose and into her stomach - that's how she was fed.

"In the picture, the plaster should be taped to her nose to keep it on, but it isn't. It's not a nice photo, and I don't know why anyone would take a picture of it. None of the other nurses left notes on the ward either. It's awful looking back at it now." Referring specifically to the "caught in the act" part of the note, she said: "It's shocking. It feels like a sick joke - that's why I can't put it up and I never will."

Although there was an initial police investigation into why the baby girl was left with cerebral palsy, no further action was taken against Letby. The parents are now seeking further recourse, in light of her whole life jail term. Karen Cathcart, Medical Negligence Partner at Devonshires Claims, said: "It’s unclear at this stage why the police did not pursue this case but it’s clear there needs to be further investigation. This little girl has been impacted for life and the family deserve answers.

"While the Letby case only included 14 cases, it’s an unfortunate fact that there are likely many more families who have been impacted by her actions and we are seeing a large number of people who are now seeking further answers. As this legal battle unfolds, we can only hope that the truth will prevail and that measures will be taken to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. We urge anyone who may have suffered as a result of Letby’s actions to seek legal advice immediately."

Cheshire Police said they are currently reviewing other cases related to infants under Letby's care, a task being undertaken by a taskforce of officers operating under the name Operation Hummingbird. A spokeswoman for the force said: "We’re in the process of reviewing other cases and are unable to comment on specific babies/families at this stage and whether we are investigating further or not but when we’re in a position to say more we will."

When approached by the Mirror about the claims, Jane Tomkinson OBE, Acting Chief Executive Officer at the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Following the trial of former neonatal nurse Lucy Letby, the Trust welcomes the announcement of a statutory public inquiry by the Department of Health and Social Care.

"In addition, the trust will be supporting the ongoing investigation by Cheshire Police. Due to ongoing legal considerations, it would not be appropriate for the Trust to make any further comment at this time."

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