Wednesday, 19 Jun 2024

Cowardly baby killer Lucy Letby won't attend court to face her sentence

Killer nurse Lucy Letby said she does not want to attend her sentencing after being found guilty of murdering seven newborns.

The 33-year-old former nurse indicated to her legal team she did not intend to return to the dock at Manchester Crown Court after some of the jury’s verdicts came back on Wednesday.

For the latest news on the Lucy Letby verdict and trial, follow’s live blog here.

She faces the rest of her life behind bars after being convicted or murdering seven babies and trying to kill six others during a horrific year-long poisoning spree.

Letby targeted the vulnerable infants while working on the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and June 2016. 

She made her seemingly last court appearance on Wednesday when the jury were continuing their deliberations after verdicts had been returned by the jury in the days before.

When more verdicts returned the following day on Thursday, Letby told her legal team she did want to return to court, including for Monday’s sentencing.

The reasons for her non-attendance have not yet been disclosed by the judge.

Mr Justice Goss said: ‘The sentencing hearing will of course take place whether she is present or not.

‘The court has no power to force a defendant to attend at a sentencing hearing, therefore there is nothing I can do in relation to that.’

Earlier this year, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said the Government is ‘committed’ to changing the law so criminals are compelled to attend their sentencing hearings.

It came after his predecessor, Dominic Raab, promised to act while under pressure over the non-attendance of the killers of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, Zara Aleena and Sabina Nessa to stop offenders convicted of the most serious crimes dodging court and avoiding facing justice.

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Jurors spent more than 100 hours deliberating over the course of 22 days before convicting her of seven counts of murder following a trial which lasted a mammoth 10 months. 

On August 8 the jury – on its 15th day of deliberations – unanimously found her guilty of attempting to murder two infants by poisoning them with insulin.

Letby was found to have harmed or sabotaged her victims in various ways, including injecting them with air to cause a fatal embolism, overfeeding milk, interfering breathing tubes, or physically assaulting them.

Prosecutor Nick Johnson KC told the jury she was ‘the constant malevolent presence when things took a turn for the worse for these children’. 

Letby, he said, was an ‘opportunist’ who became ‘persistent, calculated and cold-blooded’ in her determination to kill, sometimes attacking the tiny babies multiple times. 

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