Detective who nailed Beverley Allitt discusses Lucy Letby trial

‘Other cases have been missed’: Detective who nailed Beverley Allitt says ‘it was almost like Lucy Letby had read the book’ of the chillingly-similar Angel of Death case 30 years before – and believes other killer nurses have

  • Stuart Clifton said there were disturbing similarities between the two murderers
  • The Trial of Lucy Letby: Watch The Mail’s documentary in full here

The detective who brought killer nurse Beverley Allitt to justice has claimed it was almost as if Lucy Letby had ‘read the book’ on the chillingly similar ‘Angel of Death’ case three decades earlier.

Stuart Clifton, a former detective superintendent with Lincolnshire Police who helped nail Allitt for 13 murders and attempted murders of infants during 1991, said there were disturbing similarities between the two convicted serial killers.

Following the culmination of her 10-month-long trial Friday, Letby is now the worst serial killer of children in modern UK history after a jury found her guilty of murdering seven infants and attempting to murder six more while working on a neonatal unit – offering shocking echoes of the Allitt case. 

Clifton added that he was forced to conclude ‘other cases have been missed’ regarding medical professionals committing nefarious acts.

Discussing the two investigations into the twisted child murderers, Clifton told The Daily Mail’s Tom Rawstorne that he didn’t think the NHS was particularly switched on to the possibility for medical professionals committing such killings.

Beverley Allitt carried out a chilling series of murders and attacks on babies in hospital in 1991

Convicted murderer Lucy Letby is pictured holding an infant at the Countess of Chester Hospital in 2012 

Discussing the Allitt case, Clifford said it ‘became increasingly obvious that she wanted to be centre stage.’

CLICK HERE to listen to The Mail+ podcast: The Trial of Lucy Letby 

The former detective said Allitt was always the one that ‘highlighted that a child had collapsed.’

‘She was the one that wanted to call the the crush team the resuscitation team,’ he continued.

‘She was the one that was volunteering to go in ambulances when children were being transferred to other hospitals, and she seemed as if it was that need to be adored that drove her forward.’

He said during the investigation that his team had identified on every single occasion Allitt had been with the child that had collapsed.

Referencing the recent Letby trial, Clifton said there were disturbingly similar echoes in the two killer’s desire for attention.

‘It seems to me that here you have a nurse that revels in the attention that comes about as a result of highlighting the collapses of children.

‘Most of [Allitt’s victims] had gone in with relatively minor complaints: bronchiolitis and that sort of thing, the thing that you would expect after winter and certainly none of them were expected to die.’

Allitt is currently serving 13 life sentences – one for each of the children she murdered or attempted to murder as a paediatric nurse in the 1990s. 

The nurse attacked 13 children who had been admitted for minor injuries between February and April 1991 at Grantham and Kesteven Hospital, Lincolnshire, injecting some of them with dangerous amounts of insulin. 

Lucy Letby, 33, (pictured) may be placed under 24-hour suicide watch in prison amid fears she could take her own life before ‘justice gets done’

While completing a three-year nursing degree at Chester University, Letby went on placement at the local hospital where she would later kill or maim her victims

Beverley Allitt (right), dubbed The Angel Of Death, was handed 13 life sentences and to this day remains locked up in Rampton Hospital, a secure psychiatric facility

Like Letby point-blank denied the crimes. She was convicted for the murder of 10 children


Count 1 – Murder of Baby A on June 8, 2015 – GUILTY 

Count 2 – Attempted murder of Baby B between the June 8, 2015 and June 11, 2015 – GUILTY 

Count 3 – Murder of Baby C on June 14, 2015 – GUILTY 

Count 4 – Murder of Baby D on June 22, 2015 – GUILTY 

Count 5 – Murder of Baby E on August 4, 2015 – GUILTY 

Count 6 – Attempted murder of Baby F on August 5, 2015 – GUILTY 

Count 7 – Attempted murder of Baby G on September 7, 2015 – GUILTY 

Count 8 – Attempted murder of Baby G on September 21, 2015 – GUILTY 

Count 9 – Attempted murder of Baby G on September 21, 2015 – NOT GUILTY

Count 10 – Attempted murder of Baby H on September 26, 2015 – NOT GUILTY 

Count 12 – Murder of Baby I on October 23, 2015 – GUILTY 

Count 15 – Attempted murder of Baby L on April 9, 2016 – GUILTY 

Count 16 – Attempted murder of Baby M on April 9, 2016 – GUILTY 

Count 17 – Attempted murder of Baby N on June 3, 2016 – GUILTY 

Count 20 – Murder of Baby O on June 23, 2016 – GUILTY 

Count 21 – Murder of Baby P on June 24, 2016 – GUILTY 

She succeeded in killing four of them. Her youngest victim, Liam Taylor, was just seven weeks old.

After the death of her fourth victim, 15-month-old Claire Peck, staff became suspicious of the number of cardiac arrests on the children’s ward and police began to investigate.

Clifford said the investigating team were able to establish that Allitt was the only nurse on duty during the medical episodes.

She was found guilty of four counts of murder, three of attempted murder, and a further six of grievous bodily harm in 1993. The 54-year-old is imprisoned at Rampton Secure Hospital in Nottinghamshire.

Clifford highlighted the similarities in how the two murderers had used similar methods to kill their infant victims.

‘It was almost as if [Letby] had read the book’ on the Allitt case, she said.

The former detective concluded: ‘I don’t think you ever get admission from these sorts of people.’ Both Allitt and Letby denied their murder charges to the end.

‘You have to understand that once the adoration begins to swell and people feel sorry because you’re the nurse that’s having to cope with all, it’s very difficult to stop.’

The former detective raised severe concern following the two cases. ‘I don’t think that despite the fact that there’s now been two of these cases – Allitt and Letby – that the NHS is particularly switched on to it.

‘We’re very used to going to a body in a ditch that’s got a knife stuck between the shoulder blades.

‘It’s a lot different when you’ve got a seven week old baby that’s collapsed and died you rely on the medical profession to lead you in and into what has actually caused it.

‘These nurses that actually cause injury to children and kill also write up the nursing notes the nurse tells the doctor what what has happened. And it’s not necessarily the truth.

Beverley Allitt attacked 13 children who had been admitted for minor injuries between February and April 1991 at Grantham and Kesteven Hospital, Lincolnshire, injecting some of them with dangerous amounts of insulin

A note found in Letby’s house that had the word ‘hate’ circled and added: ‘I am evil I did this’ 

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Letby reacting to the final questions from her barrister Ben Myers 

‘It’s only when you begin to delve and find what the truth really is that you that they’re able to paint a different picture. And I don’t think that that is done often enough when there is suspicion of these sort of events.

‘I think definitely there’ll be other cases that have been missed and you imagine it’s very very difficult to show that the collapse of a child, who is not expected to collapse and die, is as a result of a criminal act.’

Letby’s conviction meant she overtook Allitt and became the country’s most prolific child serial killer. 

Between June 2015 and June 2016 Letby murdered five boys and two girls.

She targeted one set of triplets and three sets of twins and her victims ranged from a full term baby girl to infants born extremely prematurely, including one baby girl who survived despite being born in a hospital toilet at just 23 weeks gestation.

Doctors raised concerns about Letby’s presence at all of the deaths but were repeatedly dismissed by hospital bosses.

The government has now launched a major inquiry into the cases as police begin trawling through 4,000 babies thought to have been under Letby’s care to check for other possible victims. 

Chilling moment Lucy Letby maintains her innocence in first police interview 

This is the chilling moment serial killer nurse Lucy Letby was quizzed about the spate of deaths on her watch during her first police interview – as footage also emerged of her arrest. 

The 33-year-old, who was today found guilty of seven murders, is seen being interviewed by officers at a police station about the rise in mortality at the Countess of Chester Hospital, where she worked. 

She says: ‘They told me there had been a lot more deaths and I’d been linked as someone who had been there for a lot of them.’ 

Asked if she had any concerns about the rise in mortality, the nurse says ‘yes’. 

She then adds: ‘I think we’d all just noticed as a team in general, the nursing staff, that this was a rise compared to previous years.’

Letby is interviewed by police in July 2018, when she admitted she had been confronted about the increased number of baby deaths on her watch

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