Lucy Letby will die in prison after receiving 14 whole-life sentences


Lucy Letby will die in prison after receiving 14 whole-life sentences

Lucy Letby will die in prison after being handed 14 whole-life orders for murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others while working on a hospital’s neonatal unit.

The judge imposed a whole-life order for each offence she committed, meaning she will spend the rest of her life in prison unless under very exceptional circumstances.

She faced seven murder charges and seven counts of attempted murder because she tried to kill one of the babies twice.

Letby, 33, did not appear in court for her sentencing – something which has renewed calls for a law forcing criminals to face justice in person.

The mother of one of the babies murdered by Letby said her decision not to appear was one “final act of wickedness from a coward”.

Lawyers for another family told Sky News it was a “scandal” that Letby was not in the dock for sentencing, adding that it “makes a mockery of the justice system” and that she “should’ve been dragged to court to face them”.

Mr Justice Goss told Manchester Crown Court during sentencing: “There was premeditation, calculation and cunning in your actions.”

He said Letby “relished” being in the intensive care unit where she took an interest in “uncommon” complications and targeted twins and triplets.

Lucy Letby will die in prison after receiving 14 whole-life sentences

The judge said before passing sentence: “Over a period of 13 months, you killed seven fragile babies and attempted to kill six others.

“Some of your victims were only a day, or a few days old. All were extremely vulnerable.”

He added: “This was a cruel, calculated and cynical campaign of child murder involving the smallest and most vulnerable children, knowing your actions were causing significant physical suffering.

“There was a malevolence bordering on sadism in your actions.

“During the course of this trial you have coldly denied any responsibility for your wrongdoing.

“You have no remorse. There are no mitigating factors.

“In their totality, the offences of murder and attempted murder are of exceptionally high seriousness, and just punishment, according to law, requires a whole life order.”

Explainer: Can criminals like Letby be forced into court?

Lucy Letby will die in prison after receiving 14 whole-life sentences

Letby – who was in her mid-20s and working at the Countess of Chester Hospital at the time of the murders between June 2015 and June 2016 – is the UK’s most prolific child killer of modern times.

She is also only the fourth woman in UK history to be told she will never be released from prison.

The other women are Moors murderer Myra Hindley, who died in 2002, and serial killers Rose West and Joanna Dennehy, who remain behind bars.

“The impact of your crimes has been immense,” the judge said of Letby, adding “lifelong harm” had been caused after she targeted babies whose lives were cut short “almost as soon as they began”.

“Loving parents have been robbed of their cherished children,” he added. “You have caused deep psychological trauma.”

Lucy Letby will die in prison after receiving 14 whole-life sentences

This morning families of Letby’s victims spoke of their heartbreaking ordeals in court.

The mother of Child C said her experience in hospital was “like something out of a horror story“, adding: “The trauma of that night will live with us all until the day we die. Knowing now his murderer was watching us.”

Meanwhile, the mother of premature baby Child D said the funeral was held the day before her due date, and the newborn’s organs could not be donated because a post-mortem had to be performed.

Another woman whose two children E and F were attacked by Letby said they were born after painful rounds of IVF.

“No children in the world were more wanted than them,” she added.

The father of children O and P, who were murdered by Letby, said he turned to alcohol after their deaths and at one point considered taking his own life.

The father of Child G, who requires constant care after being attacked by Letby, told a court his baby was saved by God but “the Devil found her”.

The girl is registered blind, has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is fed by a tube through her stomach.

Why we're not identifying the children and their families

Though their real names have been used in court, all children involved in the trial against Lucy Letby have been granted anonymity through a strict reporting restriction.

The order, imposed by a judge, also bans any reporting of the names of the babies’ parents, to protect their identities.

It means the babies have been referred to as children A to Q throughout.

Lucy Letby will die in prison after receiving 14 whole-life sentences

Mr Justice Goss said in his remarks about Letby: “You acted in a way that was completely contrary to the normal human instincts of nurturing and caring for babies and in gross breach of the trust that all citizens place in those who work in the medical and caring professions.

“The babies you harmed were born prematurely and some were at risk of not surviving but in each case you deliberately harmed them, intending to kill them.”

Lucy Letby will die in prison after receiving 14 whole-life sentences

He said Letby took opportunities to harm babies while staff were on breaks.

The judge said: “You knew the last thing anyone working in the unit would or did think was that someone caring for the babies was deliberately harming them.”

Letby had been found guilty by a series of partial verdicts, delivered several days apart, with the judge issuing reporting restrictions until the end of the trial.

Lucy Letby will die in prison after receiving 14 whole-life sentences

Following the sentencing of Letby, Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Evans said: “The sentence reflects the true scale and gravity of her horrific crimes and ensures that a calculated and dangerous individual is behind bars for a very long time.

“Nothing will bring back the babies who died or take away the pain and suffering experienced by all of the families over the years but I hope that the significant sentence will bring some comfort at this dark time.”

Meanwhile, the justice secretary said the government is looking at options to change the law to force criminals to appear in court for sentencing.

Lucy Letby will die in prison after receiving 14 whole-life sentences

Alex Chalk said: “She took the coward’s approach, insulting her victims one last time by robbing their families of the chance to look her in the eye as the judge decided her fate.

“Cases like these make me even more determined to make sure the worst offenders attend court to face justice, when ordered by the judge.

“That’s why we are looking at options to change the law at the earliest opportunity to ensure that in the silence that follows the clang of the prison gate, society’s condemnation will be ringing in prisoners’ ears.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he shared the victims’ families anger about not seeing Letby in the dock for her sentencing hearing as he urged the government to change the law to compel criminals to attend.

He said: “Just think of those victims’ families today not seeing the defendant in the dock facing justice as she properly should. They are angry, they’re frustrated. I share that.”


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