The quiet cul-de-sac in Hereford where killer nurse Lucy Letby grew up

  • ITV News Central reporter Rosie Dowsing reports on who Lucy Letby was and how she was eventually caught.

The oh-so ordinary early life of killer nurse Lucy Letby has been revealed by those who brought her finally to justice.

From the quiet cul-de-sac street where she grew up in the market town of Hereford to the conscientious student and sociable friend to many.

She has been described as "nothing out the ordinary", a "beige" character - even a "girl next door", affable and charming.

Now she's been convicted of murdering seven newborn babies, and attempting to murder a further six more - making her Britain's most prolific baby killer but her upbringing was straight out of middle class Britain.

Nine months of evidence involving the cases of 17 babies - premature newborns, twins, triplets - seven of them died, and ten survived - under the care of nurse Letby.

Her year-long killing spree from June 2015 to June 2016 targeted the most vulnerable of victims, but Letby was not arrested until 2018 after a police investigation which involved over 2,000 witnesses and 500,000 pages of medical records.

Killer nurse Lucy Letby grew up in a three bedroom semi-detached house in Hereford in Arran Avenue. Credit: ITV News Central

Who is Lucy Letby and where did she grow up?

Born in 1990, Lucy Letby grew up in a three bedroom semi-detached house in Hereford in Arran Avenue - a quiet cul-de-sac near the River Wye.

She later attended comprehensive schools including Hereford Sixth Form College.

When Letby, who enjoys salsa dancing and adores her two cats, went to university to study nursing, she remained close with her parents, Susan, 58, and John, aged 72.

She moved to Chester in Cheshire for three years of nursing training, and carried out placements in Liverpool Women's Hospital and the Countess of Chester Hospital - where she started working full time after qualifying as a children’s nurse in 2011.

In 2011, her parents posted a message in their local newspaper along with a picture of their daughter wearing her mortarboard hat to congratulate her on graduating with honours.

Her proud parents congratulated her nursing achievements in the Hereford Times with a notice in December 2011.

It read: "We are so proud of you after all your hard work. Love Mum and Dad."

A notice published in the Hereford Times in December 2011 - written by Lucy Letby's parents after she achieved her nursing qualification. Credit: ITV News

In 2018, at the time of Letby's arrest, her parent's neighbours told The Times Letby's family were devastated.

"She’s an only child, do I have to say anymore? I just feel for them so much. I feel so helpless that there is nothing we can do," one said.

During her early years at the Countess of Chester hospital, Letby was known as both hard-working and sociable with colleagues, pictured smiling with them at events.

Those involved in the case against her said how unusually normal this now convicted child killer seemed.

Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Evans, who was part of Cheshire Constabulary's 'Operation Hummingbird', said: "I don't think there's really anything that stands out in describing Lucy Letby.

"I would say she is beige as a person in the sense that she was a normal 20-something during these offences, she had a normal social life.

"There is nothing that jumps out at you as unusual."

Letby was also pictured in the Chester Standard as part of the neonatal unit's baby grow fundraising appeal, and was quoted saying how she 'enjoyed seeing babies progress and supporting their families.'

Of Letby's character, lawyer Pascale Jones of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “She managed to convey that impression of the angelic smile behind the baby grow appeal. The girl next door, affable.

"Certainly her friends and colleagues were completely unsuspecting.”

Dr Shoham Das, criminal psychologist, said: “One thing that really strikes me about Lucy Letby’s case is that there is no known history of previous offending, specifically no known history of previous violence.

"Having assessed hundreds of mentally distressed offenders I would say that’s exceptionally rare. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my career before."

After an extraordinarily long trial, the nurse from Hereford was convicted of the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others.

On Monday 21st August she was handed a whole life sentence, meaning she will never be released from prison. She wasn't present in court for the sentencing.

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