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Lucy Letby given whole-life sentence for murder of seven babies and will die in jail

Lucy Letby will spend the rest of her life in prison, after a judge handed her a whole-life sentence for murdering seven babies in her care.

The most prolific child serial killer in modern British history was convicted on Friday of murdering seven babies and trying to kill six more while working at the Countess of Chester Hospital between 2015 and 2016.

Mr Justice Goss told the 33-year-old, who refused to attend Manchester Crown Court, that there was “premeditation, calculation and cunning in your actions” as he handed down a whole-life order, which he said was “just punishment”.

The judge said: “You acted in a way that was completely contrary to the normal human instincts of nurturing and caring for babies and in gross breach of the trust that all citizens place in those who work in the medical and caring professions.

“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.”

He said Letby “relished” being in the intensive care unit where she took an interest in “uncommon” complications and targeted twins and triplets.

The judge said the defendant prided herself on her professionalism which enabled her to start harming children without suspicion.

In a televised address, Mr Justice Goss detailed the murders of seven babies and attempted murders of six others carried out by Letby.

He said: “The cruelty and calculation of your actions were truly horrific.”

Describing handover notes and diary entries found during a search of Letby’s home, he said: “All, I have no doubt being records you kept to remind you of the details of the consequences of what you had done to those children.”

He continued: “The impact of your crimes has been immense.”

He said “lifelong harm” had been caused after Letby targeted babies whose lives were cut short “almost as soon as they began”.

The judge said: “All in horrific circumstances.”

He added: “Loving parents have been robbed of their cherished children. You have caused deep psychological trauma.”

Mr Justice Goss said it was not part of his role to “reach conclusions about the underlying reasons” for Letby’s actions. “Nor could I,” said the judge. He added: “For they are known only to you.”

Whole-life orders are the most severe punishment available in the country’s criminal justice system and ensure a criminal never leaves prison.

Letby is the fourth woman in UK history to receive such a punishment, along with the girlfriend of Moors murderer Ian Brady, Myra Hindley – who died in 2002 – and serial killers Rose West and Joanna Dennehy.

Before sentencing, the court heard statements from the families of Letby’s victims, who told her “you are nothing” and “you are evil”, while Rishi Sunak said her failure to attend was “cowardly”.

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