Serial killer nurse Lucy Letby sentenced for attempted murder of baby girl

Nurse Lucy Letby has been sentenced to a whole-life order for the attempted murder of a baby at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neo-natal unit.

The 34-year-old appeared at Manchester Crown Court on Friday to hear her sentence after she was “caught virtually red-handed” deliberately dislodging the baby girl’s breathing tube in a nursery room at the unit in February 2016.

The baby died three days later after being transferred to a specialist unit due to being extremely premature.

Letby was already serving 14 whole life terms for the seven murders and seven attempted murders, having made two attempts to kill one child, given to her last year.

A whole-life order means Letby will spend the rest of her life in prison with no minimum term or chance of early release.

Sentencing Letby on Friday, Mr Justice Goss said: “It was another shocking act of calculated, callous cruelty.

“During the course of this trial you have coldly denied any responsibility for any offences and sought to attribute wrongdoing to others. You have no remorse.”

After he reiterated to Letby that she would spend the rest of her life in prison, she turned round as she was led from the dock and said: “I’m innocent.”

A retrial was ordered on a single attempted murder charge concerning the baby girl, known as Child K, after the first jury could not reach a verdict.

Letby was already serving 14 whole life terms for the seven murders and seven attempted murders before the sentencing on Friday (PA)
Letby was already serving 14 whole life terms for the seven murders and seven attempted murders before the sentencing on Friday (PA)

But a second jury took just three and a half hours to convict Letby of the offence.

The retrial also saw Letby forced to listen to a judge’s sentencing remarks she previously refused to hear at the conclusion of the first trial. Prosecutor Nick Johnson KC spent seven minutes reading a section of the remarks as Letby looked largely to the floor of the dock.

Click here to read our report on the judge’s sentencing remarks last year

The retrial heard that Letby targeted the baby after the infant was moved from the delivery room to the neo-natal unit shortly after her premature birth.

The youngster, born at 25 weeks’ gestation and weighing just 692g, was said by the prosecution to be the “epitome of fragility”.

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

Consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram caught her “virtually red handed” as he entered nursery one at about 3.45am. He intervened and resuscitated Child K.

Lucy Letby on her arrest in July 2018 (PA)
Lucy Letby on her arrest in July 2018 (PA)

Dr Jayaram told jurors he saw “no evidence” that she had done anything to help the deteriorating baby as he walked in and saw her standing next to the infant’s incubator.

Child K was transferred to a specialist hospital later on 17 February and died there three days later.

Letby was initially charged with the murder of child but the charge was dropped in June 2022 as the prosecution offered no evidence.

After Friday’s sentencing, senior crown prosecutor Nicola Wyn Williams said: “Lucy Letby has now been sentenced for another dreadful crime, the attempted murder of yet another baby.

“This has been an incredibly difficult, complex and disturbing case. A trained nurse tasked with looking after the most vulnerable babies used her craft and her skills to become a killer.”

In May, Letby lost her Court of Appeal bid to challenge her convictions from last year.

Cheshire Constabulary said its review of the care of some 4,000 babies admitted to hospital while Letby was working as a neonatal nurse remains ongoing.

A separate corporate manslaughter investigation at the hospital by Cheshire Constabulary also remains ongoing.

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