English nurse Lucy Letby was sentenced to life in prison without possible release on Monday for the murders of seven newborn babies, a sentence exceptionally harsh to match the horror caused by the crimes of the world’s worst killer. children of modern UK history.
Lucy Letby, 33, was found guilty by a court in Manchester (north) on Friday of the murder of seven premature newborns and six attempted murders in the hospital where she worked.
On Monday, she was sentenced to irreducible life, a very rare sentence in English law, while questions remain about the true extent of her crimes.
“You have acted in a manner totally contrary to normal human instincts to care for babies and in flagrant violation of the trust that all citizens place in health care professionals,” Judge James Goss said, calling his crimes a “cruel, calculated and cynical campaign”.
Due to the “exceptional gravity” of the crimes, “you will spend the rest of your life in prison”, added the judge.
This woman, “cold, calculating, cruel and tenacious” according to the prosecution, had maintained her innocence throughout her long and difficult trial, which began in October 2022. She worked in the intensive care unit of the hospital. Countess of Chester, in the North West of England.
The murders took place between June 2015 and June 2016. She notably injected intravenous air into premature newborns, used their nasogastric tubes to send air or an overdose of milk into their stomachs.
Lucy Letby would attack babies after their parents left, when the charge nurse went away, or at night when she was alone. She then sometimes joined the collective efforts to save newborns, even assisted desperate parents. She wrote cards to grieving relatives.
During the trial, a mother said she returned to give milk to one of her premature twins in August 2015, heard him scream and discovered blood around his small mouth. She had been reassured by Lucy Letby.
According to the prosecution, the nurse had just pushed medical equipment down the tiny baby’s throat, and also injected him with air. He died a few hours later.
Already absent from court on Friday when she was found guilty, Lucy Letby refused to attend the pronouncement of her sentence, broadcast live on British television.
This refusal aroused the frustration and anger of the families of the victims, who wanted Lucy Letby to listen to their last testimonies.
“When you’ve committed such horrific crimes, it’s cowardly not to confront the victims,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday, adding he was considering legislation to stop it happening.
“At least now there is no debate that in your own words you killed them on purpose. You are evil,” a bereaved mother said on the stand Monday.
These remarks refer to handwritten notes found at Lucy Letby’s house on which she had written: “I am evil, I did it”. On other notes, she proclaimed her innocence.
Transferred in June 2016 to an administrative service, arrested for the first time in 2018, then in 2019, Lucy Letby had been imprisoned in November 2020. Her motives remain unclear despite the ten months of trial.
Since Friday, questions have multiplied, in particular on the fact that Lucy Letby was not arrested earlier.
According to the British press, doctors would have launched alerts as early as 2015, but the management of the hospital would not have listened to them or would not have acted, concerned about the reputation of the establishment.
The police continue to study thousands of files in search of possible additional victims of Lucy Letby.
On Sunday evening, The Guardian newspaper reported that police were investigating dozens of “suspicious” incidents, involving 30 babies, at the hospital where she worked.
This article is originally published on arabnews.fr