A neonatal nurse has been handed a whole life order for murdering new-born babies that she should have been caring for.
Lucy Letby, of Arran Avenue in Hereford, was sentenced during a hearing at Manchester Crown Court today (Monday 21 August) for seven counts of murder.
The 33-year-old was also sentenced for seven counts of attempted murder.
During the hearing Mr Justice Goss KC said Letby had waged a ‘cruel, calculated and cynical campaign of child murder involving the smallest and most vulnerable of children’.
He said she showed no remorse and there are no mitigating factors as he confirmed that she will spend the rest of her life in prison.
Following the hearing, Deputy Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Evans, said:
“Today, Lucy Letby has been handed a whole life order.
“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.
“The victim impact statements read out in court today on behalf of the parents are a chilling reminder of the pain and suffering that each family has had to endure over the years.
“Hearing their own experiences in their own words has been truly heartbreaking.
“I would once again like to say thank you to the families for putting your trust in us and for supporting an investigation that has been running for six years and a trial that has spanned almost 12 months.
“Our thoughts remain with you all at this incredibly difficult time – you are truly remarkable and will always have a place in our hearts.”
Letby, who qualified in September 2011 after graduating from university, used a variety of methods to target the victims at the Countess of Chester Hospital – injecting the babies with air and poisoning them with insulin as well as over feeding them with milk.
In court the prosecution had claimed that Letby was a competent nurse who knew exactly what she was doing when she deliberately harmed the babies in her care on the neonatal ward.
The defence argued that there was no evidence to suggest Letby had inflicted harm on any baby citing ‘sub-optimal care’ by the hospital, issues with poor hygiene and a campaign of conspiracy against the defendant by a number of senior doctors as reasons for the deaths and non-fatal collapses.
Last week, after 10 months and 110 hours of deliberating the jury dismissed Letby’s version of events and agreed that she was responsible.
In early May 2017, The Countess of Chester Hospital Foundation Trust contacted Cheshire Constabulary regarding neonatal services at the hospital. This was in relation to a greater number of baby deaths and non-fatal collapses than normally expected during the period of June 2015 and June 2016.
As a result, Cheshire Constabulary launched an investigation called Operation Hummingbird.
A suspect was formally identified and as part of ongoing enquiries and on 3 July 2018 Letby was arrested at her home in Chester. She was taken into custody and interviewed by detectives and was subsequently bailed pending further enquiries.
This was followed by two further arrests – one in June 2019 and another in November 2020 – in total she was arrested three times in the space of just over two years.
During those arrests around 30 hours of video interviews were captured as Letby was asked to give her recollection of each event.
Enquiries continued during this time and on 10 November 2020 Letby was rearrested in Hereford.
One day later, she was charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder between June 2015 and June 2016.