Hereford-born nurse, Lucy Letby, 33, has been sentenced to a whole-life term after being convicted of the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of six others at the Countess of Chester Hospital. This makes her the fourth woman in UK history to receive such a sentence, reserved for the gravest of crimes.
Letby's heinous acts included injecting infants with air, force-feeding some with milk, and poisoning two with insulin. Despite the weight of her crimes, she declined to appear for her sentencing hearing.
Mr Justice Goss, presiding over the case, remarked on the "cruelty and calculation" of Letby's actions, describing them as "truly horrific". He stated, "You acted in a way that was completely contrary to the normal human instincts of nurturing and caring for babies." He further highlighted her lack of remorse and the discovery of handover sheets at her residence, which he believed she kept as "morbid records".
Ben Myers KC, defending Letby, mentioned that she had "maintained her innocence throughout these proceedings", leaving no room for mitigation in the sentencing.
The courtroom was filled with the parents of the affected babies, many of whom were visibly emotional. Several mothers read out heart-wrenching victim impact statements, expressing their horror and disbelief at the actions of someone they had trusted.
The case has prompted a national conversation about the legal requirement for offenders to face their victims. Sir Keir Starmer urged the government to act swiftly, while Justice Secretary Alex Chalk labelled Letby as "not just a murderer but a coward". Prime Minister Rishi Sunak echoed this sentiment, criticising the act of convicted criminals not facing their victims or families in court.
Currently, 70 criminals in the UK are serving whole-life orders, with four held in secure hospitals. These individuals will never be considered for release unless exceptional compassionate grounds are presented.