Lucy Letby sentenced to 15th whole life term

By Rumeana Jahangir, Michaela Howard & Judith Moritz, BBC News

grey placeholderCheshire Police Lucy Letby mugshot / custody photoCheshire Police

Lucy Letby had already been convicted of the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others

Former nurse Lucy Letby has been sentenced to another whole life term for trying to kill a premature baby girl.

The 34-year-old is already in jail for murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others at the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and June 2016.

On Tuesday, she was found guilty of trying to murder another girl, known as Baby K, following a retrial.

Letby had refused to go up to the dock to be sentenced to 14 whole life terms last August, but was in the dock earlier to be handed her 15th.

Her original murder trial jury acquitted her of two counts of attempted murder, and there were six further charges on which jurors could not decide, including that concerning Baby K.

‘No remorse’

Earlier this week, the retrial jury convicted her of trying to murder the “very premature” infant by dislodging her breathing tube in the early hours of 17 February 2016.

Baby K’s mother, who became pregnant with Baby K after a miscarriage, read a statement to the court in the presence of Letby.

She said: “The devastation expands so far and for so long when a child is lost, let alone under these circumstances.

“Will we get answers and the verdict that we want? Will that actually bring some peace and closure? Baby K is not here, never will be.

“We will never have what would give us peace, closure, or a feeling of being complete family unit.

“However, you, Lucy Letby, will never hurt another child or have the privilege and joy that children give.

“Our time and effort that you have absorbed over the years will stop today and our focus will remain on our beautiful children and building the most exciting and love filled life that we possible can.”

Judge Mr Justice Goss KC told Letby: “It was another shocking act of calculated, callous cruelty”.

He told her she had “betrayed the trust of Baby K, her parents, and all those at the hospital”.

“You have coldly denied responsibility. You have shown no remorse. There are no mitigating factors,” he added.

As Letby was taken down from the dock, she turned to the judge and said: “I’m innocent.”

grey placeholderCheshire Police Letby leaving her home under arrestCheshire Police

Police footage showed Letby’s arrest at her Chester home

The court heard how Letby, originally from Hereford, targeted the child after the baby’s transfer from the delivery room to the neo-natal unit.

About 90 minutes after her birth, Letby dislodged the breathing tube through which she was being ventilated with air and oxygen.

The jury agreed the former nurse then stood by her incubator as she watched her blood oxygen levels drop, without intervening.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram had caught her “virtually red-handed” as he entered the unit’s intensive care room at about 03:45.

Dr Jayaram, who intervened to resuscitate the child, told jurors he saw “no evidence” that Letby had done anything to help the deteriorating baby.

He said he heard no call for help from Letby or alarms as Baby K’s blood oxygen levels suddenly dropped.

Baby K was transferred to a specialist unit on 17 February because of her extreme prematurity and died there three days later.

The cause of death was certified as extreme prematurity and severe respiratory distress syndrome.

Letby told the jury she had no recollection of any such event as described by Dr Jayaram and did not accept it had taken place.

She denied doing anything harmful to Baby K and insisted she had not committed any of the offences of which she had been convicted.

grey placeholderReuters Cameraman filming outside the hospitalReuters

Letby worked at the Countess of Chester Hospital when the babies died

Det Ch Insp Nicola Evans, from Cheshire Police, said the sentence “once again reflects the true scale and gravity of her horrific crimes”.

“It also highlights the torturous journey that Baby K’s parents have had to endure at court – sitting and listening to extremely upsetting and distressing evidence about their newborn daughter – against constant denials from Letby.

“They have had to do this not once, but twice.”

Police have said they are reviewing the cases of 4,000 admissions of babies into neonatal units at hospitals where Letby worked or trained, and are investigating whether the Countess of Chester Hospital should face criminal charges.

Det Supt Simon Blackwell, from Cheshire Police, said an investigation into corporate manslaughter at the hospital, which was launched in October 2023, was considering areas including senior leadership and decision making between June 2015 and June 2016.

He said “at this stage” the force was not investigating any individuals in relation to gross negligence manslaughter.

A public inquiry into how Letby was able to commit her crimes on the neo-natal unit is set to begin at Liverpool Town Hall on 10 September.

Letby’s legal team unsuccessfully brought a Court of Appeal challenge this April over her previous convictions.

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