Lucy Letby: Rishi Sunak Defends Non-Statutory Inquiry Into Murders

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak has defended the decision not to hold a judge-led inquiry into the Lucy Letby murders, but has not ruled it out.

Letby was found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to kill six more at the Countess of Chester Hospital between 2015 and 2016.

She was accused of harming them by injecting air into their bloodstreams and of poisoning them with insulin.

The 33-year-old will be sentenced today but has refused to appear in the dock.

An inquiry will be held into the circumstances around the murders, but it will be non-statutory, rather than one led by a judge.

This means witnesses cannot be compelled to appear and give evidence.

Speaking to broadcasters this morning, Sunak said Letby’s crimes were “shocking and harrowing”.

Asked about the inquiry, the prime minister said the current plan would ensure it could happen “as quickly as possible”.

“I think the important thing for the inquiry to do is make sure that families get the answers that they need,” he said.

But Downing Street has not ruled out upgrading the inquiry to a statutory one at a later date.

Sunak also said the government was considering changing the law to force criminals to attend hearings.

“I think its cowardly that people who commit such horrendous crimes do not face their victims and hear firsthand the impact their crimes have had on them and their families and loved ones,” he said.

“We are looking – and have been at – changing the law to make sure that happens that’s something we will bring forward in due course.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer also said he would change the law should he win the next election.

“As director of public prosecutions, I saw how crucial it is for victims and their families that perpetrators appear in court,” he said.

“That criminals can cowardly hide away is a shamefully exploited loophole, and one Labour will close. Victims must be at the heart of our justice system.”