The angelic face of a killer – was Lucy Letby a covert narcissist?

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In a chilling revelation that has sent shockwaves and repulsion through society, the case of killer nurse Lucy Letby has brought to light a disturbing contrast between her supposedly ‘beige’ personality, outwardly angelic appearance and the malevolent actions she committed.

Letby, a former nurse, was recently found guilty of the harrowing killing of 7 infants and the attempted murder of 6 more. As the world grapples with the gravity and shocking details of her crimes, it raises another unsettling question: Could Letby’s behaviour be indicative of covert narcissism?

The mask of benevolence

One of the most perplexing aspects of this tragic case is the manner in which Letby managed to maintain a façade of benevolence despite the heinousness of her actions. Her outward demeanour projected kindness, compassion, and dedication to her profession, making it all the more difficult to reconcile with the dark reality she concealed. This dissonance between her apparent innocence and the darkness within her aligns with the behavioural patterns often associated with covert narcissists.

Covert narcissists, in contrast to their more overt counterparts, are adept at concealing their true nature behind a mask of humility and empathy. Often described as being the most dangerous type of narcissists, they possess a knack for manipulating those around them by playing upon their perceptions of kindness and selflessness, all while harbouring a desire for control and power. The duality of their character makes it challenging for even those who are closest to them to recognise their underlying motives.

One personal experience that I encountered with someone I believe to be a covert narcissist was their sadistic and obvious display of Schadenfreude when I was in pain and distress. Schadenfreude, a term derived from German that translates to “harm-joy,” refers to the experience of pleasure derived from witnessing the suffering, failure, or misfortune of others. While this concept might seem counterintuitive to empathy and compassion, it reflects a darker aspect of human psychology—a morbid fascination with the downfall of those around us.

In the case of Lucy Letby, the juxtaposition of her angelic façade with the grave nature of her crimes invites speculation about the potential presence of Schadenfreude. Could her actions have been driven, at least in part, by a twisted enjoyment or satisfaction stemming from the suffering and helplessness of the infants she was responsible for? Such a possibility challenges our understanding of empathy and raises the unsettling question of how someone could derive pleasure from such heinous acts.

Covert narcissists, like Lucy Letby, may be particularly susceptible to experiencing schadenfreude due to their unique psychological makeup. These individuals often harbour a hidden desire for power and control, manipulating those around them to achieve their aims. The perverse pleasure they derive from witnessing the vulnerability of others may feed into their need for dominance.

In Letby’s case, the dichotomy between her seemingly caring persona and the atrocities she committed points to a complex psychological profile. The ability to outwardly project empathy while secretly deriving satisfaction from the suffering of her victims speaks to the potential presence of Schadenfreude. This covert sense of gratification may have fuelled her actions, enabling her to maintain a façade of normalcy even as she inflicted harm.

The calm and composed police interview

What further adds to the chilling nature of Letby’s case is her remarkable composure during her police interview, a demeanour that remained virtually unaltered in the face of serious allegations. Her ability to remain poised and composed, even when confronted with the gravity of the accusations against her, mirrors the unsettling calm often displayed by covert narcissistic psychopaths.

Covert narcissists possess an uncanny knack for appearing unfazed and composed, even when confronted with overwhelming evidence of their wrongdoing. Their emotional detachment from the consequences of their actions grants them the ability to withstand pressure and scrutiny that would leave most individuals reeling. This eerie tranquility in the midst of chaos becomes a potent tool in manipulating both those who are investigating them and those who are in their social sphere.

The Unveiling of Covert Narcissism

The Lucy Letby case serves as a stark reminder that malevolence can often lurk behind an innocent countenance. While the motivations behind her actions may never be fully comprehended, the signs pointing toward the possibility of covert narcissism cannot be ignored.

Traits such as projecting a veneer of empathy and altruism, a desire for control over others, and the capacity to maintain an eerie sense of calm even when confronted with grave allegations all point to the potential existence of a covert narcissistic personality. This case underscores the need for society to remain vigilant, recognising that evil does not always manifest in obvious ways. Covert narcissists possess an uncanny ability to deceive and manipulate, leaving us to ponder how many more individuals with seemingly angelic exteriors may be concealing their true malevolent nature.

As the world struggles to comprehend the depths of Lucy Letby’s actions, it is imperative that we not only seek justice for her victims but also remain deeply aware of the covert narcissistic tendencies that can enable such tragedy. There is no such thing as someone’s appearance masking a psychopath.

Styletto Mag is a Scottish online magazine that publishes the latest articles on fashion, beauty, travel, food and relationships. The site was founded in August 2011. Styletto Mag is a sleek, easy to access online magazine which features shopping trends, beauty reviews, funny features, and women's lifestyle articles. To contribute or submit articles, send them to

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