Lucy Letby, the former neonatal nurse who was convicted last week of killing seven babies and attempting to kill six others, will spend the rest of her life in prison.
At her sentencing hearing Monday, which Letby refused to attend, Justice James Goss highlighted “the cruelty and calculation” of her actions, The Associated Press reported.
The babies she targeted died in the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital in northwest England between June 2015 and July 2016. Letby added air into their blood and stomachs, overfed them with milk, physically assaulted them and poisoned the babies with insulin, court testimony showed, according to CNN.
Prosecutors said that Letby killed the babies, but allowed her coworkers to believe that they died from natural causes.
During the sentencing proceedings, parents whose children Letby had killed spoke about their anger and loss, according to the AP.
“I don’t think we will ever get over the fact that our daughter was tortured till she had no fight left in her and everything she went through over her short life was deliberately done by someone who was supposed to protect her and help her come home where she belonged,” one mother said in a statement. The baby was not named in the case.
A mother of twins, one of whom was killed by Letby and the other whom Letby tried to kill, said in a statement to the court, “You thought it was your right to play God with our children’s lives,”
Goss said that a neonatal nurse is entrusted with the care of the most fragile babies and that Letby’s killing of the children was the “exceptional circumstances” that required the rare “whole-life order.” She’s only the fourth woman in the country’s history to be sentenced to a “whole-life order,” BBC News reported.
She will never be released from prison, CNN reported.
“There was a malevolence bordering on sadism in your action,” Goss said, according to the AP. “During the course of this trial you have coldly denied any responsibility for your wrongdoing. You have no remorse. There are no mitigating factors.”
Police said that during their investigation, they found several handwritten notes from Letby that said: “I don’t deserve to live. I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them,” “I am a horrible evil person” and “I am evil I did this,” according to CNN.
They also found medical records called handover sheets at her home that the judge said were kept as “morbid records,” BBC News reported.
The judge ordered that statements he made and those from the parents of Letby’s victims be given to the former nurse, CNN reported.
She remained in her jail cell during the proceedings on Monday after she told her lawyers shortly after the verdict was announced that she would not attend any more court dates, The New York Times reported.
British law allows defendants to not appear in court for sentencing and this case has prompted the push to change those laws, CNN reported.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said of Letby’s absence, “I think it’s cowardly that people who commit such horrendous crimes do not face their victims and hear firsthand the impact that their crimes have had on them and their families and loved ones.”
He added, “We are looking and have been at changing the law to make sure that that happens and that’s something that we’ll bring forward in due course.”