A sickening court case reached its conclusion after a ten month trial with a guilty verdict delivered against nurse Lucy Letby, who had killed seven babies in her care, and attempted to kill a further six at the Countess of Chester Hospital in the North West of England, between June 2015 and June 2016.
The judge, Mr Justice Goss, ordered that she serve whole-life orders on all the guilty verdicts, meaning that she will spend the rest of her days locked away. Letby however refused to return to the dock to hear the sentencing, nor would she follow the hearing via video link, much to the anger and frustration of the bereaved parents, for whom it was one more cowardly act from what is now Britain’s worst child serial killer in the modern era.
During the trial against the 33-year-old which began in October 2022, the jury at Manchester Crown Court heard that she had deliberately injected babies with air intravenously and administered air and/or milk into the stomach via nasogastric tubes. It was also claimed by the prosecution she added insulin as a poison to intravenous feeds, interfered with breathing tubes, and inflicted trauma in some cases.
In total there were 22 charges brought against her, but Letby was acquitted on two counts of attempted murder while jurors were unable to reach verdicts on six further attempted murder charges.
She had been remanded in custody since November 2020 and has spent time in four different prisons. Throughout all that time, Letby maintained her innocence, but the jury of seven women and four men reached agreement after 110 hours of deliberations, and found her guilty of all the murder charges.
Denial after early investigation
It was in September 2016 when Letby was officially informed in a letter from the Royal College of Nursing that she was under investigation over the deaths of the babies, having earlier been removed from clinical duties; but shockingly, the bosses at her hospital backed her and incredibly accused others on the neonatal unit of poor practice.
Her defence team argued that the deaths and collapses were due to “serial failures in care” elsewhere on the ward, attempting to deflect blame.
The seemingly good natured girl who was working in her dream job, was in fact carrying out a killing spree in plain sight. She will now be mentioned alongside the likes of the Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, plus the so-called Angel of Death – paediatric nurse Beverley Allitt, whenever there is any talk of the UK’s most twisted murderers.
When on the stand, Letby had painted herself to be the perfect nurse telling the jury she had always wanted to work with children, but chillingly her reasoning now appears to have had sinister overtones. It is estimated that she had cared for hundreds of new-born babies during her time, so many families will consider themselves very fortunate to have escaped her wicked actions.
Prosecutor, Nick Johnson KC, was able to pick holes in her testimony, pointing out the differences between what she’d told the police after her arrest, and what she was now saying in court. He was able to produce a green post-it note discovered by police at Letby’s home which was covered in the nurse’s scrawl, amongst which was the phrases “I AM EVIL I DID THIS” and “I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough; I don’t deserve to live, I am an awful person.”
Judge tells it how it is
When passing sentence, the judge spoke as if Letby was present and proceeded to tell her that there was premeditation, calculation and cunning in her actions, which were bordering on sadism. He made the point that loving parents had been robbed of their cherished children, causing deep psychological trauma and remarked how she had shown no remorse by coldly denying any responsibility for her wrongdoings.
He added: “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.” He went on to say: “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.”
Locked away for life
In giving Letby a whole-life order for each offence, he told the killer she would spend the rest of her life in prison, emphasising the sickening reality of her crimes by making her hear the true reality of her horrifying actions: “You killed seven fragile babies and attempted to kill six others. Some of your victims were only a day or a few days old and all were extremely vulnerable.”
Mr Justice Goss highlighted how Letby took opportunities to harm babies while other staff were on breaks. He also repeated information that came out during the trial of how handover sheets relating to all but the first four babies were found when police searched her home. Additionally he said that a “great majority” of her victims “suffered acute pain” and believed that she “relished” being in the intensive care unit where she took an interest in “uncommon” complications and targeted twins and triplets.
Letby’s parents, who attended her trial on a daily basis, also failed to show up for the sentencing.
Only fourth women to receive life order
The whole-life order prisoners are only considered for release if there are exceptional compassionate grounds. She becomes only the fourth woman in UK history to receive such a sentence which are the most severe punishment available in the country’s criminal justice system and are reserved for those who commit the most heinous crimes. The previous three are/were: Myra Hindley, Rose West, and Joanna Dennehy.