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An English nurse has been arrested after the deaths of 17 babies in her care.

British woman Lucy Letby, 29, has been arrested over the deaths of 17 babies in her care when she was a nurse at The Countess of Chester Hospital, in Cheshire, London.

Letby had been questioned by police in July 2018 regarding the deaths, and kept in custody whilst her home had been searched, but was released without charge.

Now almost a year later, on June 10, 2019, Letby was arrested in relation to those same deaths, and those of a further three babies.

At helm of the investigation is Detective Inspector Paul Hughes, who said:

“As part of our ongoing investigation we have today re-arrested the healthcare professional on suspicion of murder in relation to the deaths of 8 babies and the attempted murder of 6 babies.

“She has also been arrested in connection with the attempted murder of three additional babies.”

Hughes also told The Sun that the investigation was complicated, involving families, staff, and other patients.

“We fully appreciate that it continues to have a big impact on all those involved,” he said.

“This is an extremely difficult time for all the families and it is important to remember that, at the heart of this, there are a number of bereaved families seeking answers as to what happened to their children.”

Letby worked at the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester as a student nurse, before graduating from the University of Chester in 2011 with a degree in child nursing.

Police were asked to launch a probe at the hospital in May 2017, following a “greater number of baby deaths and collapses than normally expected” between June 2015 and June 2016.

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The police investigation was subsequent to an internal inquiry which was initiated after the discovery that some premature babies had collapsed with heart and lung failure, but were atypically not able to be resuscitated.

Post mortems revealed the babies developed marks on their limbs after death, and that a cause of death could not be identified.

Professionally, Letby was respected until she attracted suspicion.

As a recent graduate, she was interviewed by local British media. She proudly said at the time:

“My role involves caring for a wide range of babies requiring various levels of support.

“Some are here for a few days, others for many months and I enjoy seeing them progress and supporting their families.

“I am currently undergoing extra training to develop and enhance my knowledge and skills within the Intensive Care area.”

If the allegations are proven, Letby will not the first nurse to be found responsible for the deaths of her patients.

For example, last week, the story of German nurse Niels Hoegel caught the world’s attention.

Hoegel, who is already serving a life sentence for six other crimes, faced trial last week for a further 100 murders.

When asked by the presiding Judge Sebastian Buehrmann whether the 100 allegations of abusing patients to death were true, Hoegel replied, “yes”.

He is accused of randomly selecting patients, between age 34 to 96, and injecting them with medication that led to heart failure or other complications so he could try to resuscitate them.

The prosecutor claims he did this out of boredom or to impress his colleagues with his medical skills.

While Hoegel will be remembered for betraying his patients on an enormous scale, there have been other nurse serial killers, such as the infamous Kristen Gilbert and Charles Cullen.

But the serial murder of babies by nurses is much rarer.

In the early 1990s, British nurse Beverley Allitt murdered four children.

Working in a hospital, Allitt attacked 13 patients, and killed four of them, in just two months. It was discovered that she had used a lethal level of insulin in some of the cases.

Allitt was later diagnosed with Munchausen syndrome by proxy, and was given 13 life sentences.

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