Child killer Lucy Letby forced to hear damning remarks she dodged by refusing to attend court

Lucy Letby has been given a whole life sentence for her crimes and former inmates have spoken of what she will face
-Credit: (Image: PA)

Child serial killer Lucy Letby was forced to listen to part of the sentencing remarks she dodged last time following a retrial. Former neo-natal nurse Letby, 34, was convicted at Manchester Crown Court in August 2023 of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others – with two attempts on one victim - but she refused to attend her sentencing.

Her absence was branded "one final act of wickedness" by the mother of two of Letby's victims. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also weighed in, calling Letby "cowardly" as he said the Government was looking at changing the law to force criminals to attend sentencing hearings.

But the remarks which Letby missed in 2023 were read out to her ahead of her latest trial in June, where she Letby largely looked at the floor. She appeared back in the dock over a charge which jurors could not reach a verdict on last time.

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The charges Letby was convicted of last year took place at the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and June 2016. However, the jury at that time could not reach a decision on the charge concerning a baby girl, referred to as Child K, leading to a retrial on this single count.

The charges was that she attempted to murder a baby girl during a night shift at the hospital’s neo-natal unit in February 2016. Today on Tuesday, July 2, a new jury found Letby guilty of attempting to kill the "very premature" baby by intentionally removing her breathing tube on February 17, 2016.

Letby received 14 whole life terms of imprisonment – one for each offence she committed. Letby returned to the same courtroom last month to face a retrial on the single allegation concerning Child K.

Her legal team tried, unsuccessfully, to throw out the case before it started as they argued she could not have a fair trial due in part to a "tsunami of prejudicial comment" in the aftermath of her convictions. But prosecutor Nick Johnson KC countered that what followed in media coverage was "nothing more than a fair reflection of the facts of this case", which included the sentencing remarks of Mr Justice Goss.

Referring to Letby, who he said "of course was not there", he reminded the high court judge of what he said on sentencing. Letby looked largely to the floor in the courtroom dock as Mr Johnson took seven minutes to read a section of the remarks while a packed public gallery watched on in silence.

He said: "My lord, you 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 lives of newborn or relatively newborn babies were ended almost as soon as they began and lifelong harm has been caused, all in horrific circumstances.

"‘Loving parents have been robbed of their cherished children and others have to live with the physical and mental consequences of your actions. Siblings have been deprived of brothers and sisters.

"You have caused deep psychological trauma, brought enduring grief and feelings of guilt, caused strains in relationships and disruption to the lives of all the families of all your victims’."