(LONDON) — Former British nurse Lucy Letby was sentenced on Monday to spend the rest of her life in prison after being found guilty in the worst child serial killer case in the modern history of the U.K.
She was convicted in Manchester Crown Court of murdering seven babies and trying to kill six others while working at the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and June 2016. She was first arrested in 2018.
Some infants were killed by injecting them with air, others were force-fed milk and two were poisoned with insulin, court documents said.
In a televised sentencing, Judge James Goss addressed the murder of each baby and said that there was “a deep malevolence bordering on sadism” in Letby’s actions.
“This was a cruel, calculated, and cynical campaign of child murder involving the smallest and most vulnerable of children,” he added.
Letby refused to attend the sentencing to listen to the judge and the families’ testimonies.
Earlier on Monday Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it is “cowardly that people who commit such horrendous crimes do not face their victims.”
Goss stated that the court had no power to force the defendant to attend a sentencing session.
Robert Buckland, a former justice secretary. called for proceedings to be broadcast into Letby’s cell, despite her wishes, so she had to listen to the victim impact statements, according to GB News. There should be “nowhere to hide” for her, Buckland said.
The prime minister said the government is looking at changing the law so criminals are compelled to attend their sentencing hearings.
Parents’ testimonies have been extremely emotional, as reported by the BBC. Some were holding toys while admitting they contemplated suicide.
“The trauma will live with us forever … something out of a horror story,” said the mother of baby C. The victims’ parents cannot be identified under U.K. law, so each baby is referred to by a letter.
Mother of twins E and F said that Letby is “evil disguised as a caring nurse” and that she condemned their family to “living a life sentence.”
During the 10-month-long process, Letby insisted she did not harm any of the babies and pointed to issues of poor hygiene and staffing levels in the hospital.
As the U.K. Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said, a government-commissioned inquiry will examine why the children’s nurse was allowed to continue on the unit despite senior doctors raising concerns about her for months.
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