Lucy Letby sentenced to whole-life order
Lucy Letby was convicted of murdering seven babies and attempting to kill six other infants at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
The neonatal nurse was given 14 whole-life sentences on Monday, August 14, one of only three other women to be handed such a verdict in UK history, and will spend her life behind bars.
Many have been shocked by the case of Letby, a seemingly ordinary woman who from an early age said she wanted to work with children.
She hails from a normal street in a normal town — Hereford — with the leafy banks of the River Wye just at the bottom of the road.
Letby grew up in the city with her parents John, a retired furniture boss, and Susan, a former accounts clerk, who are still married, and attended the picturesque Aylestone School before going on to Hereford Sixth Form College.
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Many of those she lived and grew up with have voiced horror at the crimes she committed. Mr and Mrs Letby are said to have been well-respected members of the community, liked by many.
“This is one of those moments of unspeakable tragedies when we are having to face the unthinkable,” said Fiona Gibson, the Archdeacon of Ludlow told the BBC.
“Within the city and across the whole country, people are feeling anger, despair, rage, shock, grief, confusion and pain.”
Born in 1990, Letby grew up in a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Hereford on Arran Avenue.
It is a quiet cul-de-sac near the River Wye, nondescript and similar to streets found all around Britain.
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Letby’s childhood friend Dawn told the BBC’s Panorama programme about her that she had been “goofy” and “bubbly” growing up. She described having meals out with her in Hereford’s Broad Street and socialising together in the Cathedral Close.
“Hereford is definitely very much home for her,” Dawn told the programme. “Lucy has such strong ties to her family here.”
Letby later went to university to study nursing in the late Noughties, in that time remaining close to her parents, later moving to Chester in Chesire for three years of nursing training.
She completed placements at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and the Countess of Chester Hospital, the latter of which she took up full-time work after qualifying as a nurse in 2011.
Express.co.uk this week found an archived message her parents submitted to their local paper, the Hereford Times, in 2011, congratulating their daughter on her new qualification.
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“LETBY Lucy BSc Hons in Child Nursing. We are so proud of you after all your hard work. Love Mum and Dad,” it read.
When Letby was first arrested in 2018, her parent’s neighbours told The Times that her family were devastated, one saying: “She’s an only child, do I have to say anymore? I just feel for them so much. I feel so helpless that there is nothing we can do.”
During her early years at the Countess of Chester hospital, Letby was known to be hard-working and smiley, also sociable with her colleagues and going to many events with them outside work.
While close to her parents, Letby’s trial heard that she came to lament the close relationship, describing it as at times “suffocating”.
After graduating she moved away, something her parents “came to hate” and which made her feel “constantly guilty”.
Speaking to a friend about New Zealand, she said: “I couldn’t leave my parents. They would be completely devastated. Find it hard enough being away from me now and it’s only 100 miles.
“I came here to uni and didn’t go back. They hate it and I feel guilty for staying here sometimes but it’s what I want.”
Mr and Mrs Letby relocated from Hereford to Manchester in order to attend their daughter’s trial, turning up in court every day apart from the sentencing.
When the guilty verdicts rolled in last week, Mrs Letby reportedly broke down in tears and cried: “You can’t be serious. This cannot be right.”
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