Killer nurse Lucy Letby handed whole life sentence for murdering newborn babies

  • ITV Granada Reports correspondent Mel Barham reports on the sentencing of Lucy Letby

Serial killer nurse Lucy Letby will spend her whole life behind bars for murdering seven newborn babies, and attempting to kill six more.

Sentencing her to the whole-life order, judge Mr Justice Goss told her she had "premeditation, calculation and cunning in [her] actions", adding "you acted in a way that was completely contrary to the normal human instinct of nurturing and caring for babies.

"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."

Letby was found guilty of 14 of the 22 counts she faced on Friday, following a 10-month trial at Manchester Crown Court.

The 33-year-old, originally from Hereford, refused to attend court for some of the verdicts or sentencing, not facing the families of her victims as they read out impact statements.

Delivering his sentencing Mr Justice Goss, who said she had a "deep malevolence, bordering on sadism in your actions" said he would sentence as if she was in the dock, and ruled she should be given a copy of his remarks.

He told her: "The impact of your crimes has been immense, disclosed by the deeply moving personal statements that have been read to the court this morning.

"The lives of newborn or relatively new born babies were ended almost as soon as they began and lifelong harm has been caused, all in horrific circumstances.

"Loving parents have been robbed of their cherished children and others have to live with the physical and mental consequences of your actions.

"Siblings have been deprived of brothers and sisters, you have caused deep psychological trauma, brought enduring grief and feelings of guilt, caused strains in relationships and disruption to the lives of all the families of all your victims."

Lucy Letby will spend the rest of her life in prison Credit: Cheshire Constabulary/PA

The killings took place between 2015 and 2016 while Letby was working on the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital in Cheshire.

She injected air into the babies via their tubes, causing air embolisms and leaving them unable to breathe, as well as over-feeding some.

The jury also found her guilty of attempting to kill six babies, including two by poisoning them with insulin.

Countess of Chester Hospital. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

During sentencing, Mr Justice Goss said it was not part of his role to "reach conclusions about the underlying reasons" for Letby's actions.

"Nor could I, for they are known only to you," he added.

Mr Justice Goss continued: "There is no doubt that you are intelligent and, outwardly, were a very conscientious, hard working, knowledgeable, confident and professional nurse,which enabled you repeatedly to harm babies on the unit without arousingsuspicion for some time."

After the babies' deaths, the judge said Letby then "cruelly and callously made inappropriate remarks to some of the grieving parents".

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

Sentencing Letby to life in prison, Mr Justice Goss said: "Lucy Letby, on each of the seven offences of murder and the seven offences of attempted murder, I sentence you to imprisonment for life."

Because the seriousness of her offences is exceptionally high, the judge directed that the early release provisions do not apply to Letby.

"The order of the court therefore is a whole life order on each and every offence and you will spend the rest of your life in prison."

Addressing Letby's refusal to come to court, Mr Justice Goss said: “The defendant, Lucy Letby, has refused to attend court for this sentence hearing.

"Accordingly, I have to sentence her in her absence. I shall deliver the sentencing remarks as if she was present to hear them.

"And I direct that she is provided with a transcript of my remarks and copies of the victim personal statements read to the court.”

Baby loss help & support


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Letby is just the fourth woman to be handed a whole life tariff.

She joins girlfriend of Moors Murderer Ian Brady, Myra Hindley, who died in 2002, and serial killers Rose West and Joanna Dennehy, spending the rest of their lives in prison.

More than a dozen relatives of victims sat in the public gallery for the hearing on Monday and eight jurors returned to see the sentencing.

Following the sentence, Senior Crown Prosecutor Pascale Jones, of CPS Mersey Cheshire said: “Today’s sentence means Letby will never again be able to inflict the suffering she did while working as a neonatal nurse. She has rightly been brought to justice by the courts.

“My thoughts remain with the families of the victims who have demonstrated enormous strength in the face of extraordinary suffering.

"I hope that the trial has brought answers which had long eluded them.”

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