Sunak says Letby inquiry should be judge-led

The inquiry into serial killer Lucy Letby’s crimes should be led by a judge, Rishi Sunak has said.

The Government has come under pressure to put the inquiry on a statutory footing, including from some of the families affected, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, and the NHS ombudsman.

The Prime Minister said on Friday that “whatever form the inquiry takes” he believes it is “important that it is judge-led”.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called Lucy Letby’s crimes ‘despicable’ and said an inquiry should be ‘judge-led'(Euan Duff/PA)

Speaking to broadcasters, Mr Sunak said: “This was one of the most despicable, horrific crimes in our history.

“And it’s really important that we get answers, particularly for the families of the victims. And of course my thoughts are with them.

“The Health Secretary (Steve Barclay) is taking that work forwards, speaking with them, to make sure we understand what they need and want and how best we can address that.

“Now, whatever form the inquiry takes, I believe it is important that it is judge-led so that it has a strong, independent voice to get to the bottom of what happened.”

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Rob Behrens wrote to the Health Secretary earlier this week saying: “Only a statutory inquiry can provide the strong legal powers necessary to compel witnesses and the release of evidence.”

The Government ordered a probe after the nurse was last week found guilty of murdering seven babies and trying to murder six more.

Ministers said the inquiry will investigate the events on the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit between 2015 and 2016 to ensure lessons are learned.