Lucy Letby's notes show she is a 'narcissist', expert says
EXCLUSIVE: Lucy Letby’s scrawled notes reveal she is a narcissist who should never have been put in charge of babies, handwriting expert says
- Killer nurse’s handwriting suggests nurse repressed anger and lacked empathy
- Expert says it is ‘patently clear’ she should never have been in a position of care
Killer nurse Lucy Letby’s scrawled notes reveal she is a narcissist who should ‘never have been put in a position of responsibility’, a leading handwriting expert has claimed.
Letby, who was given 14 whole life sentences for murdering seven babies and trying to kill another six, has never revealed why she carried out her sickening death spree.
But strange notes and doodles apparently amounting to a confession were found by police during a search of her semi-detached home in Chester and used in the prosecution against her.
And inside a diary, detectives found a damning Post-it note, covered in scrawled writing, including the damning words: ‘I AM EVIL. I DID THIS’.
According to graphologist Tracey Trussell, the notes in her distinctive scrawl give a fascinating insight into Letby’s character.
Neonatal nurse Lucy Letby, 33, in her police mugshot. On Monday she was jailed for a whole-life term after being found guilty of the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others
Analysis of her handwriting suggests that Letby was repressing anger. Handwriting expert Tracey Trussell says this note betrays her ‘repressed anger’ – while the red box with prison-esque bars hints at her guilt and self-denial after she committed the horrendous crimes
The writing inside a condolence card given to grieving parents by Lucy Letby after the death of a baby on the ward. It reads: ‘There are no words to make this time any easier.’ Ms Trussell believes the wide word spacing shows she didn’t like people getting close to her – while the straight downstrokes suggest she was impatient and lacking empathy
After examining the notes, Tracey told MailOnline: ’On first impressions you could be deceived into thinking she’s just an ordinary girl.
‘Viewed holistically, one of Letby’s samples gives an overall picture of someone with reasonably positive attributes and qualities.
‘But once you dig deeper and start looking at the broader picture the negatives quickly kicked in, putting an entirely different complexion on things.
‘At this point, we see some graphic imbalances and strong clues to Letby’s character, affecting her behaviour.
READ MORE: How Lucy Letby used a secret code to record the dates of her murders in a diary she kept in her bedroom
Lucy Letby used a ‘code’ to mark the dates of her crimes in a diary, police said
‘So much so, it is patently clear Letby should never have been put in a position of care and responsibility.’
Friends of Letby, and her parents, have refused to believe she is a demented killer and her nickname growing up was ‘The Innocent One’.
Even police described her as ‘vanilla’ because the NHS nurse seemed entirely innocuous, with cuddly toys on her bed and a duvet with the words ‘Sweet Dreams’ stitched across it.
Tracey said: ’Initially Letby comes across as a little reserved, kind and caring, polite and loyal.
‘She was capable of projecting gentleness and charm but Letby’s often reclining style of handwriting shows how she was withdrawn particularly when stressed, generally on the defensive and potentially capable of irreverent actions.
‘And the wide word spacing shows that publicly she didn’t like people getting too close.’
Looking closer Tracey added: ’Generally, there are excessively wide, stretched out letters, and in handwriting, excess always provides a gloomy outlook.
‘Where broadness tips the balance and becomes overly broad, we have someone who teeters on the brink of vulnerability and will be unable to assert any self- discipline.
‘Letby was likely to act impulsively and wilfully, without thought, and powerless to control strong subconscious urges. Plus, she lacked principles.
‘It could be that she was spoiled in the past and felt entitled, so she behaved selfishly to meet her narcissistic ends.
‘Once she was on track to satisfy her cravings, she wouldn’t have been able to put the brakes on. She’d have to finish what she’d started.’
A violently scribbled note from Lucy Letby’s troves of grim mementoes, which reads: ‘I can’t do this anymore…hate my life.’ Handwriting expert Tracey Trussell believes the crowded nature of the writing, and the fact some of it has been retraced, shows the nurse has lost ‘all sense of perspective and good judgement’. She added: ‘There’s a lot of retracing, where lines are drawn and redrawn over and over and round and round, in the same spot, reaving inner anxieties, tension and guilt. It is pure unhappiness’
The infamous ‘I am evil, I did this’ note left by Lucy Letby and discovered by police. Ms Trussell says that the letter ‘f’ in ‘feel’ (circled) particularly highlights an ‘undercurrent of physical energy’ the nurse is struggling to contain. She added: ‘So when it [the energy] bursts into consciousness, it’s lethal’
The Countess of Chester Hospital where Lucy Letby worked as a neonatal nurse
Tracey went on: At the same time, this was hard for Letby to bear, because the overly broad letters also suggest that she was keen to be liked.
‘Such an exaggerated need for acknowledgment and approval set her up for disappointment. It was like a never-ending out-of-control spiral for her.
‘What’s more her urges could be violent, and in this respect the samples are littered with clues.
‘Even without the original notes, it’s evident that we’ve got some heavier pressure in the lower section or tips of the downstrokes the letter f in ‘feel’, halfway down the green piece of paper.
‘This reveals an undercurrent of physical energy that Letby is unable to contain, so when it bursts into consciousness it’s lethal.
‘Generally, poor quality of pen strokes – showing variable pressure patterns on copies or under magnification – are one of the most prevalent features here, and the strongest clue that Letby was feeling emotionally off-key and immensely dissatisfied inside.
‘Given the other indicators, this would have rendered her capable of sudden violent acts.
‘What goes on beneath the baseline is telling – revealing what goes on in our subconscious.
‘We have triangular shapes and a few long loops that wriggle back up the stems. These highlight repressed aggression and control freakery going on behind closed doors.
‘There are other indicators supporting the idea that Letby was controlling and obsessive, with an ability to play a situation to suit herself.
‘She could bluff. She was the master of manipulation. However, she wouldn’t have been able to accept these unpalatable traits – she refused to see reality and concealed information to protect herself.
‘So, she would have put on a pleasant sociable front and would have behaved outwardly as reserved, constrained, perhaps easily embarrassed.
‘The reality was that she related to others superficially, and selfishly manoeuvred events for her own benefit.’
Bodycam footage of Lucy Letby being arrested for the first time in July 2018. The nurse was ultimately found guilty of murdering seven babies
Friends and co-workers are still struggling to comprehend that Letby, 33, is a baby killer. Some continue to insist she is innocent
Lucy Letby pictured at the Countess of Chester Hospital in 2012. Her trial at Manchester Crown Corut heard claims she was vying for the affections of a doctor who was called in whenever a baby faced a life-or-death situation
Among the motives police are examining for her murderous spree is that she was vying for the affection of a doctor at the Countess of Chester hospital, who was bleeped in whenever a baby was in a life-or-death situation.
Turning to the blotches and smears on some of the notes, Tracey said: ’Some are large and obvious, some only visible under closer inspection or magnification.
‘These are like a black spot of guilt and more than hint at some inner secret which was metaphorically choking her.
READ MORE: Lucy Letby had novel about young woman who had affair with married man in her childlike bedroom
‘It was something Letby was ashamed of and wanted to try and block. Letby was consumed with pent up anger and inner tensions with no release.
‘It was impossible for her to control her violent urges. The crowded spacing display a propensity to lose all sense of perspective and good judgement.
‘You could therefore expect anti-social behaviour of the most depraved kind.’
Regarding the doodles, Tracey said: ’They expose all the repressed emotions spilling out of the back of our minds.
‘Here, we’ve got very ordinary universal shapes, but it’s the way these symbols are executed that gives true meaning and insight.
‘The hearts disclose a romantic vision on life, and then there are squares, circles and rectangular shapes.
‘Most of these are heavily shaded and filled in revealing obsessions, bottled up anxiety and pent-up aggression.
‘There’s lots of retracing, where lines are drawn over and over, round and round, in the same spot, revealing inner anxieties, tension and guilt. It’s pure unhappiness.
‘The squares within squares indicate caution, insecurity and feelings of being trapped. The arrows pointing both ways and up and down disclose massive indecision, because her thinking patterns were so vague.
‘Perhaps most telling is the rectangular box with vertical bars like in a prison cell which is crossed out revealing Letby’s guilt and self-denial.
‘Even the red ink holds significance, warning of deep feelings, anger, love, hate, guilt and danger. It seems a problem was going round and round in Letby’s head.’
One of Lucy Letby’s notes, released following her trial by Cheshire Constabulary. Handwriting expert Tracey Trussell says that the red ink in some notes warns of ‘deep feelings of anger, love, hate, gult and danger’, while the heavily shaded shapes betray her ‘obsessions, bottled up anxiety and pent-up aggression’
Lucy Letby’s bedroom at her home in Chester, with cuddly toys on her bed and a duvet with the words ‘Sweet Dreams’ stitched across it. The photo was taken the day she was first arrested by police. Friends nicknamed her the ‘innocent one’
A prison van believed to be carrying Lucy Letby leaves Manchester Crown Court on Monday as she prepares to begin her whole-life prison term. Police are still trying to ascertain the true motive behind Letby’s sadistic actions
Tracey concluded: ‘Why did Letby behave like this? Is she just inherently evil, or could there be another reason?
‘Letby was impressionable and naive in her immaturity. She was also deeply dissatisfied with her lot in life, and emotionally volatile.
‘Plus, she was desperate for a type of security she’d never found and this left a gaping hole in her life and made her envious of other people whom she believed had the very things she wanted.
‘These key factors turned out to be the recipe for Letby’s unravelling personality, triggering a deep-seated ability to commit unexpected violent and depraved acts behind doors.
‘Driven by manic uncontrollable subconscious urges, she became a danger to society.
‘Although most of the time she was convincing as a very ordinary, caring and personable girl- next-door. Her guilt would have been inconceivable, and her subsequent behaviour frankly out of character by all who thought they knew her.‘
Tracey added: ‘Letby alternates between wide word spacing in some documents and crowded or compact spacing in others. This discloses her loneliness and feelings of isolation. But she lacks self-control and has no consideration for others, so ends up fulfilling her needs impulsively.
‘The inter linear tangling enhances this interpretation, showing how she has a compulsive need for pandemonium and thrives under these conditions. At the same time there’s a complete loss of perspective, so bad judgement can be expected and life around her can be pretty chaotic.
‘Much has been said about her need for attention and certainly she like to be involved and in the middle of things, which is rooted in her deep seated fear of boredom and the mundane. But there’s a more pressing motivation.
‘A more relevant reason. She was driven by a need for all the traditional things in life she believed she was entitled to, but hadn’t achieved – a romantic version of the house with a picket fence and 2.2 kids – and she was envious of anyone who had what she wanted. Letby had never found the bedrock security she desired.’
A photograph of a smiling, younger Lucy Letby. Tracey Trussell says of the killer nurse: ‘Her guilt would have been inconceivable, and her subsequent behaviour frankly out of character by all who thought they knew her’
Members of the public watch as Lucy Letby is sentenced to a whole-life term – one of just a handful of women in England to be given one – on Monday
Photographs of Lucy Letby’s diary, shown during the trial, were released after she was found guilty. Ms Trussell said of the coded entries that appear to allude to the murders: ‘This provides yet more evidence of her compulsive, manipulative, secretive behaviour’
She also examined diaries that emerged after the trial, with coded entries thought to allude to the murders.
Tracey said of these: ‘This provides yet more evidence of her compulsive, manipulative, secretive behaviour.
‘One minute she seems to compulsively plan, and the next she acts on impulse seemingly powerless to constrain her most basic urges and control her nefarious deeds.
‘She’s self-controlled one moment and then easily influenced and completely lacking any self discipline the next. It all points towards a mental imbalance and disturbance – which is clear in the other samples.
And Tracey speculated: ‘I wonder if she added the secret codes in her diary after the event. Like a type of “trophy”? Or in some macabre way a type of possession of the babies’ lives. Or, Perhaps there’s a more prosaic reason, and she recorded the events to get some kind of clarity in her mind – all her thoughts were so often jumbled and lacking in perspective.’
Tracey Trussell is a consultant graphologist and author of Life Lines (What Your Handwriting Says About You; www.handright.co.uk.
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