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What was Lucy Letby’s motive for killing babies? Parents’ grieving process may have ‘fascinated’ her, psychiatrist says



A forensic psychiatrist has revealed what killer nurse Lucy’s Letby’s motive may have been, days after she was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of release for killing seven babies in her care, and attempting to kill six others as a neonatal nurse in Chester Hospital in Cheshire, England. The 33-year-old is now being considered one of the most prolific child killers in the history of the United Kingdom.

A handout image taken from police bodycam footage released by Cheshire Constabulary police force in Manchester on August 17, 2023, shows the nurse Lucy Letby being arrested at home in Chester on July 3, 2018 (Photo by Cheshire Constabulary / AFP) (AFP)
Dr. Sohom Das, a qualified Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist who assesses, treats and rehabilitates criminals who are mentally disordered, has now weighed in on Lucy’s motives. “It is difficult to know Lucy’s incentives, as she has not opened up her psyche to the world. However, we can look at some of the most high-profile healthcare professionals who committed their crimes, and compare and contrast,” Sohom said in an interview with Hindustan Times.

Perverse pleasure in deceiving parents’

“Beverley Allitt, also an English nurse, was convicted of murdering four infants, attempting to murder three others, and causing grievous bodily harm to a further six in Lincolnshire between February and April 1991. She had Munchausen’s by proxy. This contentious disorder leads the individual to intentionally fake or even artificially create illness. The perpetrator gets some sort of perverse pleasure from feeding off the sympathy and attention that is afforded to the victim,” he explained.

He added, “With Harold Shipman, an English doctor, considered to be one of the most prolific serial killers in modern history, with an estimated 250 victims, there seemed to be a ‘God complex’. His thrill was from holding the fragility of death in his hands and the power of deciding who lives and dies. With Lucy, I imagine that there were elements of both of these notorious killers.”

Sohom said there may have been other motives, such as power and control or “a morbid fascination with the parents” grieving process.” “It is also possible that she took some perverse pleasure in deceiving parents, i.e. being the cause of their baby’s death yet also the person who comforts them. She may have also been jealous of the ideal family unit, perhaps as in her mind it was somehow obtainable. In her bitterness, she decided to simply annihilate what she couldn’t have,” he said.

It has been revealed that multiple warnings about Lucy went unheeded by the hospital. Shockingly, the Countess of Chester Hospital Foundation Trust contacted the Cheshire Constabulary, which is the police force responsible for the area, only in early May 2017. This was about a year and a half after doctors at the hospital began raising suspicions about the babies’ deaths. The court heard during the trial that several paediatricians who worked alongside Lucy had alerted hospital executives about the nurse on multiple occasions. Finally, it was Dr Sandie Brohin who reportedly helped bring down Lucy, following discoveries she made during an investigation into the babies’ deaths.

On being asked whether Lucy may have been battling mental health issues, Sohom said, “It has been established that Lucy suffered from some background anxiety and depression. However, crucially, in my view, this did not affect her criminal culpability. It may have given her a negative outlook on life, but that still does not explain and certainly does not excuse what she did.”

What was Lucy Letby's motive for killing babies? Parents' grieving process may have ‘fascinated’ her, psychiatrist says



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