Nurse Lucy Letby will spend rest of life in prison for appalling baby murders

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    Lucy Letby will spend the rest of her life in prison after she was sentenced for her appalling crimes today (Monday, August 21).

    The nurse, 33, is the most prolific child serial killer in modern British history. She was found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others while working at the Countess of Chester Hospital neonatal unit between 2015 and 2016.

    Judge Mr Justice Goss handed Letby a whole life order for every offence at Manchester Crown Court, the most severe punishment available in the UK.

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    She is only the fourth woman to receive the sentence after serial killers Myra Hindley, Rose West and Joanna Dennehy.

    Letby was not in court for the sentencing. She previously indicated she did not intend to appear and would not follow the hearing via video-link from prison.

    More than a dozen relatives of Letby’s victims were in attendance.

    The court has no power to force a defendant to attend a sentencing hearing although a Government source previously suggested "lawful enforcement" could be used to make her attend if it is considered necessary, reasonable and proportionate.

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it was "cowardly that people who commit such horrendous crimes do not face their victims".

    He added: "We are looking and have been at changing the law to make sure that that happens and that’s something that we’ll bring forward in due course."

    The father of two of the children murdered by Letby said in pre-recorded video statement played in court earlier today: "Lucy Letby has destroyed our lives.

    "The anger and the hatred I have towards her will never go away.

    "It has destroyed me as a man and as a father.

    "The continual pressure of having the trial hanging over us has been immense and difficult to describe.

    "Even after the trial has ended, it will continue to haunt us and will always have an impact on our lives."

    Mr Justice Goss addressed Letby in his comments this afternoon. He said: "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."

    He went on: "There was premeditation, calculation and cunning in your actions."

    The previously court heard how "cold, cruel and relentless" Letby deliberately harmed babies in several ways, including injecting air into the bloodstream, injecting air into the stomach, overfeeding with milk, physical assaults and poisoning with insulin.

    Consultants raised concerns with hospital bosses after noticing Letby was the only member of staff present at a series of collapses. This was first mentioned in late June 2015.

    Letby was not removed from the unit until after the deaths of two triplet boys and the collapse of another baby boy on three successive days in June 2016.

    She was due to return in March 2017 but didn't as the hospital trust had by then contacted police. She was arrested in a dawn raid at her home in Westbourne Road, Chester, on July 3, 2018.

    Police found a number of notes at her address. On one she had written: "I don’t deserve to live. I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them.

    "I am a horrible evil person.

    "I am evil I did this."

    Prosecutor Nick Johnson KC said the notes were "literally" a confession.

    The Government has ordered an independent inquiry into the Letby case. It will look at the handling of concerns raised by staff at the hospital.

    Former Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Tony Chambers, who was in charge at the time, said he would cooperate "fully and openly".

    Rob Behrens, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, said: "Those who lost their children deserve to know whether Letby could have been stopped and how it was that doctors were not listened to, and their concerns not addressed, for so long."

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