Lucy Letby is only the fourth British woman to receive a whole-life order

Serial killer nurse Lucy Letby is today beginning a whole-life sentence after being told she will never be released from prison.

The child killer is now the fourth woman whose crimes have been judged to be so heinous that there should be no opportunity of parole.

Letby, 33, was given whole-life orders for each of her 14 crimes against the newborn babies supposed to be in her care.

They include the murders of seven babies and attempted murders of six others. Letby tried to kill one of the newborns twice.

She refused to attend her sentencing, which was carried out by trial judge Mr Justice Goss at Manchester Crown Court today.

Moors murderer Myra Hindley was the first woman to receive the tariff, which was imposed on her in 1990, followed by ‘house of horrors’ killer Rose West and triple murderer Joanna Dennehy.

A whole life order means an offender will never be released from prison, other than in ‘exceptional compassionate circumstances’.

However Mr Justice Goss made it clear at Letby’s sentencing that she will never be released back into society.

He said that she had ‘coldly denied any responsibility’ for her crimes and told her, ‘You will spend the rest of your life in prison.’

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Mr Justice Goss said that early release arrangements do not apply, as he imposed whole-life orders for ‘each and every’ offence.

Overall, around 70 offenders in the UK prison estate are now serving the orders, which were introduced in 1988.

Letby joins a list of women who include:

Myra Hindley

The Moors murderer was the first British woman to be given a whole-life sentence.

Hindley and her lover Ian Brady were jailed for life in 1966 for the murders of two young people. Brady was also sentenced for an additional third murder.

Almost two decades later, they both confessed to killing two more children.

The couple tortured and sexually assaulted their victims, who were aged between 10 and 17, with all but one of the bodies being found on Saddleworth Moor on the edge of the Peak District.

The body of one of the five victims, Keith Bennett, has never been found.

The ‘life means life’ tariff was imposed by the then Home Secretary David Waddington in 1990, with Hindley launching an unsuccessful legal challenge to overturn it.

She spent 36 years behind bars before her death in November 2002, aged 60.

Rose West

Rose West was convicted of 10 murders and sentenced to 10 life terms with a whole-life order in November 1995.

Rose, now 69, and husband Fred murdered at least 12 women and girls between 1967 and 1987, including their 16-year-old daughter, Heather.

Fred escaped trial by committing suicide in his cell, aged 53.

The couple’s home, 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester, became known as the ‘house of horrors’ after police dug up nine bodies following the couple’s 20-year spree of rape, torture, and murder.

Joanna Dennehy

Dennehy received a whole-life tariff after pleading guilty to murdering three men and the attempted murders of two others.

She admitted to the murders of Lukasz Slaboszewski, 31, Kevin Lee, 48, and John Chapman, 56, in and around Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, over a 10-day period in 2013.

She also randomly selected and repeatedly stabbed dog walkers John Rogers and Robin Bereza while on the run from police.

Sentencing Dennehy in February 2014, Mr Justice Spence described her as ‘a cruel, calculating, selfish, and manipulative serial killer’ who killed to ‘gratify her own sadistic lust for blood’.

Dennehy, now 41, muttered, smirked, and swore as she was jailed for life without parole at the Old Bailey.

Her crimes have become known as the Peterborough ditch murders.

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