WITH regard to the recent Lucy Letby case ("Baby killer Letby set to spend rest of life in jail for ‘evil crimes’", The Herald, August 22): as experienced practitioners, researchers and trainers in the field of trauma, violence and abuse in Scotland, we believe it is very important to try to understand serial killings and other rare, very serious crimes, for several reasons.

Their impact without explanation is lasting, disorienting and profoundly shocking. It can be some help to traumatised and heartbroken families to understand anything about what led to these unspeakable crimes: crimes which encourage a barrage of theories, especially "they must just have been born evil or a psychopath". This dead-end theory explains and teaches nothing: we can all avoid thinking further. No-one is born evil or a psychopath.

Most important, if such crimes can be reduced through understanding what may over time have given rise to them, it clearly matters to explore this. Not to excuse criminals but to examine any lessons, early warnings or treatments which might make them less dangerous. Finally, if the offender suffered a serious abuse trauma we should consider if crimes which led to that could in future be reduced.

The greatly experienced forensic psychologist Dr Naomi Murphy, who does excellent trauma-informed work with long-term and life prisoners, said on Radio 4 after Lucy Letby's conviction that she had never in all her professional years come across a very serious offender who did not have a history of severe abuse or other trauma, which had greatly affected their thinking and behaviour.

The undersigned have all worked over many years with trauma and dissociation. Dissociative disorders are heavily associated with the effects of serious or prolonged trauma. Through our experience we consider there are many suggestive signs - through her behaviour, her writings and the personal environment she created - that Lucy Letby was and is profoundly dissociated. We are surprised that this clear possibility has raised so little informed comment.

We urge that all the evidence left by Lucy Letby is now examined and explored by a specialist in dissociation, and that such a specialist should also be encouraged to work with Lucy Letby in prison if, and when, she is willing to accept this. We believe that such exploration is likely to bring some understanding at least to this terrible series of events.

Sarah Nelson, Sue Hampson, Anne Macdonald, Laurie Matthew, Fiona Montgomery, Janine Rennie, Newport on Tay.

We will win for trans people

MARK Smith ("Scotland has been led into this mess by the nice but weak", The Herald, August 28) criticises those who stand up against verbal abuse of trans people. He then quotes Andy Shaw to claim that the 1980s and 90s were "25 years of real freedom". As a gay man who was in his twenties in the 1980s, I can't agree.

We faced inequality in the law, HIV, and politicians and papers loudly running repeated anti-lesbian and gay commentary, calling us sick, dangerous, and a threat to children. And the Thatcher government picked us as the target of a culture war, in an attempt to undermine the opposition parties.

We have won more equality since then, through decades of campaigning, much of which was condemned at the time, by the same media and political sources, as militant and harmful.

Today we see trans people attacked by much of the press and the UK Government in similar ways. But even in the 1990s, many young people accepted lesbian and gay people and couldn't see what the fuss was about. Now, many young people accept trans people in the same way. It will no doubt take more years of campaigning, and the vilification that will bring, but we will win freedom for trans people too, to live in fairness and dignity.

Tim Hopkins, Director, Equality Network, Edinburgh.

Read more: Public inquiries are a convenient way out for the guilty

So why not Glasgow?

I RECENTLY received a travel brochure for holidays abroad in 2024 from one of the major national providers. I homed in on the section dealing with Europe which constituted the bulk of the contents. There were 17 holiday destinations identified, many of which were both attractive and well-priced. However, on closer inspection, I discovered that only two flew from Glasgow with the other 15 flying out of Edinburgh. Why? Why not Glasgow when 1.8 million people out of a total national population of approximately five million live in the Glasgow City Region, according to an article today ("City leader claims power-sharing project will ‘repair mistakes of the past'", The Herald, August 29)?

Is it down to access issues or is there something inherently wrong with the product on offer at Glasgow Airport? I fully appreciate that travelling through to Edinburgh Airport using bus, tram, whatever, is relatively straightforward but on principle I refuse to do so. In my more paranoid moments, I greatly resent the fact that Edinburgh’s more swanky, "international" vibe seems to have triumphed over our own edgy, traffic-cone-on-a statue buzz.

Never mind; they might have the Festival, but we got Banksy.

Rob Kelly, Bearsden.

The write stuff

KEVIN McKenna's response to the possibility of our schools hanging a portrait of King Charles ("Hang the King in schools to teach valuable lessons", The Herald, August 29) prompted me to consider how this might be received by the ones passing it on a daily basis.

Having experienced the subversive wit of some of our undoubtedly artistic students, I can see now the potential for opportunism surfacing in the form of inscriptions produced by a black marker and some Glesga banter.

Move over Banksy!

John O'Kane, Glasgow.

Counting the flock

I FOUND your front-page story that "the numbers of seabird species living on St Kilda has plunged by 61%" ("‘Concern’ over plunge in seabird species on St Kilda", The Herald, August 29) a bit misleading. As your fuller article inside make clear, the decline is not in the number of species, but in the size of the flocks of some individual species.

Hamish Scott, Bearsden.

Moderate excitement

DAVID J Crawford's excellent and serious analysis of causes of death in Scotland (Letters, August 28) recalls Mark Twain's whimsical statement that the only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.

The Greek poet Hesiod (c.700BC) wrote "moderation is best in all things". Perhaps not much has changed in about 2700 years.

David Miller, Milngavie.