Lucy Letby, 33, a British nurse was handed down a whole-of-life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole on Monday for the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others at the Countess of Chester hospital in the northern city of Chester, where she was employed as a specialist neonatal nurse taking care of premature babies.
Letby, 33, was handed a whole life order by Mr Justice James Goss at Manchester Crown Court in northern England, meaning she will never be released. Letby refused to appear in the dock, prompting calls for laws to be changed so that defendants must attend their sentencing hearings.
She was found guilty on Friday by a jury, in a case that horrified the country and made her Britain’s most prolific child serial killer of recent times.
“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.”
Letby attacked babies in her care by administering air into their blood and stomachs, overfeeding them with milk, physically assaulting them and poisoning them with insulin, the court heard on Friday.
The allegations against Letby and her subsequent conviction triggered a government inquiry amid questions over how she was able to escape detection for so long.
The jury, after listening to evidence in a trial that lasted nine months, found that Letby secretly assaulted 13 babies on the neonatal ward at the Countess of Chester hospital between 2015 and 2016, Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said in a statement on Friday.
Prosecutors argued that Letby’s intention was to kill the babies while duping her colleagues into believing there was a natural cause of death.
The court in Manchester heard harrowing testimony during the trial from parents of the victims, including in one case where Letby had tried to kill a baby boy after murdering his twin brother.
The mother of Child E and Child F said she “completely” trusted Letby’s advice, while giving evidence to the court.
However, she said she “knew there was something wrong” when her baby, Child E, started screaming in the intensive care unit one night.
It emerged that before Letby murdered Child E, he started bleeding when she tried to assault him. That baby’s twin brother, Child F, later survived an attempt by Letby to kill him by insulin poisoning. And it was revealed that police had found a series of handwritten notes by Letby, including one that read: “I am evil I did this.”
In 2018 and 2019, Letby was arrested twice by police in connection with their investigation, PA said. She was arrested again in November 2020.
Authorities found the notes Letby had written during searches of her address.
“I don’t deserve to live. I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them,” she wrote in one memo, adding in another, “I am a horrible evil person” and in capital letters, “I am evil I did this.”
The UK government issued an independent inquiry into the murders on Friday, including how regulators and Britain’s National Health Service dealt with the concerns raised by leading physicians at the hospital.
The case has created a furore in England, and questions are being asked about the competence of risk management departments and management in National Health Service hospitals.
Sources: CNN, BBC, News Agencies.