Posted: Mon 21st Aug 2023

Nurse Lucy Letby sentenced to whole life order after “cruel, calculated and cynical campaign of child murder” at Countess of Chester Hospital

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Aug 21st, 2023

Lucy Letby has been sentenced to a whole life order , and will never be released. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Letby “refused to be present in court” said the Judge, and ordered a transcript of the proceedings be given to her.

This morning saw the court hear victim impact statements, and then the Judge gave his sentencing remarks before passing sentence – which was broadcast live from inside the courtroom, with breaks in the feed to protect the anonymity of victims and families. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The judge, Mr Justice Goss, said in his remarks, “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. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“In your evidence, you said that hurting a baby is completely against everything that being a nurse is. As, indeed, it should be. You also claimed you never did anything that was meant to hurt a baby and only ever did your best to care for them. That was but one of the many lies you were found to have told in this case.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Speaking on the sentence he added, “For the offence of murder, the sentence is fixed by law And this imprisonment for life. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“I have to determine whether the seriousness of the offences of murder individually or in combination is so exceptionally high that I should make a minimum term order and you should spend the rest of your life in prison for offences of attempted murder. Whole life sentences of imprisonment are reserved for wholly exceptional cases. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Over a period of just under 13 months you killed seven fragile babies and attempted to kill six others.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He described the offences as of “very exceptional seriousness”, adding it 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 cause untold mental suffering.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“You removed and retained confidential records of events relating to your crimes, and checked up on bereaved parents There was a deep malevolence, bordering on sadism , in your actions.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“During the course of this trial, you have coldly denied any responsibility for your wrongdoing and sought to attribute some fault to others. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“You have no remorse. There are no mitigating factors” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“On each of the seven offences of murder, and the seven offences of attempted murder, I sentence you to imprisonment for life. ” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A whole life order was ordered on each and every offence. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cheshire Constabulary 

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.

If you have any information that you would like to pass onto the investigation team please get in touch via the Operation Hummingbird mailbox at Operation.Hummingbird.Public.[email protected]

Assurances

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for North Wales, Darren Millar MS, has called for a statement and assurances from the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in the wake of the Lucy Letby trial.

Letby, who worked as a nurse at the Countess of Chester Hospital, was found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six more in a trail that ended this week.

Commenting on the issue, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for North Wales, Darren Millar MS said:

“This is a devasting and shocking case which is causing a great deal of alarm in North Wales.

“Maternity services at the Countess of Chester Hospital have been used by many mothers from North East Wales over many years. So, it is vital that the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board makes a statement about when it was altered to concerns about baby deaths at the Countess of Chester and whether pregnant women from North Wales continued to be referred to the hospital after that date.”

“The people of North Wales need these assurances from the Health Board and the Welsh Government’s Health Minister, given that the NHS in North Wales was in special measures at the time that concerns were raised.”

He added: “We also need to know what action is being taken to ensure that there is full disclosure of such concerns in the future when cross border healthcare arrangements are in place between one NHS body and another to ensure that patients are protected from unsure risk of harm.”

(Top picture, image of Mr Justice Goss from the live court feed.) ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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