As those who have suffered the most, it was only right that the parents of Lucy Letby’s victims were given the last word before she was jailed for life.
And whether appearing in person or having their statements read out in court on their behalf, they spoke with one voice.
What had happened to their babies had been an act of evil perpetrated by a sadistic torturer, they said.
Not satisfied with killing or harming those for whom she should have cared, Letby then defiled their parents’ last memories — offering to collect tiny handprints or to bathe or dress the bodies of her own victims.
For the bereaved, the scars inflicted by what they witnessed and had lost were outlined in awful detail — guilt, depression, anxiety and damaged relationships.
Some had considered taking their own lives, while others spoke of being too fearful to have more children or of subsequent births blighted by fears that something would go wrong again.
Lucy Letby will die in jail after she was given 14 whole life orders for every baby she murdered and tried to kill
An artist’s impression showing a parent of one of Letby’s victims reading a victim impact statement as Mr Justice Goss watches on
Then there were the details of the babies who had survived Letby’s murderous attacks, their futures for ever more blighted by the injuries she inflicted.
They, the court heard, would never live the lives they would have lived had they not had the ill fate to cross paths with the inhuman Letby.
The parents’ descriptions of the pain they had suffered brought many in the court to tears —jurors, journalists, and police officers.
Of course, Letby was not there to hear these words spoken. She was too cowardly to come to court to hear details of the pain and the chaos she had detonated in the lives of good, ordinary people.
People who just wanted to be able to remember the moment they first held their child, first smelt their smell, first placed a finger in their tiny, gripping hands, with a sense of happiness — rather than one of ever-painful, gnawing loss.
‘We hope you spend every day suffering for what you’ve done’
It was going to be the best year of their lives. Instead, the parents of premature boy and girl twins told how it turned in to their ‘worst nightmare’.
In June 2015, their son, Baby A, was murdered by Letby who injected air through his drip when he was less than 24 hours old.
As they struggled to come to terms with their loss, she then attempted to kill their daughter.
‘Never could we have imagined that the most precious things in our lives would be placed in such harm in the care of a nurse,’ the couple said in a statement read to court.
‘We never got to hold our little boy while he was alive because you took him away. We weren’t there when Baby A collapsed and by the time I was brought to him, he was gone despite all the efforts to revive him.
Children’s nurse Lucy Letby (pictured while working in hospital) went on a year-long killing spree while working at the Countess of Chester Hospital
‘You had been successful in your quest to cause maximum pain and suffering.’
Riddled with fear for their baby girl, they decided to make sure a family member was by her side, watching at all times — a move they now think saved her life.
Addressing Letby directly, they said: ‘Little did we know you were waiting for us to leave so you could attack the one thing that gave us reason to live.
‘We are forever grateful that you weren’t able to take Baby B away from us that night.’
Detailing how they now struggle with depression, anxiety and PTSD, they told how they sometimes wanted to ‘give up’.
But they said that their daughter was a ‘constant shining light’ and they felt a duty to keep their son’s memory alive.
‘You tried to take everything away from us,’ they added. ‘You thought it was your right to play God with our children’s lives.
‘You thought you could enter our lives and turn it upside down but you will never win.
‘We hope you live a very long life and spend every day suffering for what you’ve done. Maybe you thought by doing this you would be remembered for ever. But I want you to know my family will never think of you again from this day — you are nothing.’
‘My tiny, feisty boy, my firstborn, my son . . . You are evil, you did this’
BABY C was born weighing less than a bag of sugar when he arrived ten weeks early, and his mother, who is a GP, recalled the ‘overwhelming weight of emotion’ she felt cradling her son for the first time.
‘I understood right there and then the bond and immediate love between a mother and their baby,’ she said.
Letby – wearing a blue hoodie with the strings covered in pink glitter – is taken from her house in handcuffs after being arrested by Cheshire Police in July 2018
Letby steps into the police car – telling officers to be careful because she had just had knee surgery
‘That moment I will never forget. The way he smelt, the feel of his fine blond hair on my chin. My tiny feisty boy, my firstborn, my son.’
He would die at Letby’s hands after she injected air into his stomach via a feeding tube.
‘The shock and panic of the night he collapsed will stay with me for ever,’ she said.
‘It was so sudden, so unbelievable. It really felt like I was watching someone else’s life, not my own. Knowing now that his murderer was watching us throughout these traumatic hours is like something out of a horror story.’
And one without an end.
Sleeplessness and nightmares followed, she said. And then self-blame.
‘I still live with the guilt that I couldn’t protect him in pregnancy or in his short life,’ she told the court.
‘I think about what his voice would have sounded like. What he would have looked like now. Who he would have been.’
Letby being quizzed in July 2018 by an officer about the rise in deaths on her watch. Letby replies: ‘They told me there had been a lot more deaths and I’d been linked as someone who had been there for a lot of them.’ Asked if she was concerned about the rise in mortality, Letby says – meekly – ‘yes’
Letby’s arrest in 2018 brought with it its own demons.
‘In the darkness of the days, weeks and months that followed Baby C’s death, I would open his memory box,’ she said, struggling to hold back tears.
‘I would smell his familiar smell, I would touch his handprint. His hand and footprint were made into a pendant. I wore it around my neck. It made me feel closer to him. When Lucy Letby was first arrested these few tangible memories I had of my son felt tainted . . . she took those hand and footprints.’
Addressing her son’s killer, she continued: ‘I am so horrified that someone so evil exists. To you our son’s life was collateral damage in your persistent desire for drama, attention, praise and sympathy.
‘There is no sentence that will ever compare to the excruciating agony that we have suffered since the death of our son. You are evil. You did this.’
‘I cannot forgive you. There is no forgiving, not now, not ever’
At two days old Baby D was murdered by Letby, who injected air into her bloodstream. In the dark days, months and years that have followed, her mother told of her struggles to cope with her loss.
‘I stayed a few more days in hospital to recover then [my husband] and I went home . . . just the two of us instead of a family of three,’ she said.
As Letby was sentenced today, new photos have emerged of her on a hen do with a large group of friends
Another photo shows Letby – wearing a black floral dress – posing at the front of a group of women on a hen do just hours before she murdered her first victim
‘Our family cleared all traces of baby stuff around the house, removed the baby seat from the car, took her hospital bag back home. We had to organise her funeral.
‘Her ashes were buried in a tiny box on her actual due date. Those weeks were particularly difficult. My arms, my heart, my life all felt so painfully empty.’
And ever since then, she has suffered with feelings of grief and depression. ‘I used to cry every day, felt so empty, had a car accident and crashed into a wall,’ she said, adding that she had considered taking her own life.
‘I was hoping so hard that maybe if I went to the other side I would see my daughter and be with her. I now find comfort thinking that my prayers brought me the strength and courage to stay.’
Her marriage also suffered and she described explaining to her son, who was born a year after Child D died, what had happened to his sister.
He became scared, fearing the person who had ‘hurt’ her would hurt other babies, including his cousin.
As for Letby, she had these words: ‘My heart broke into a million pieces the second Baby D lost her battle against evil . . .
‘Those lives were not yours to take and, although I am torn with sadness, anger and unanswered questions . . . I cannot forgive you. There is no forgiving, not now, not ever.’
Lucy Letby is pictured as a child (left) and following her graduation (right) in December 2011, which her parents marked with an announcement in their local paper, the Hereford Times
‘Our surviving twin boy is without his best friend, his other half’
THEIR baby son died at Letby’s hands. But it is the nurse’s presence in the minutes that followed that to this day haunts the parents of Baby E. ‘Lucy bathed Baby E, an action I deeply regret, and dressed him in a woollen gown,’ his mother told the court.
‘He was buried in that gown, a gift from the unit chosen by Lucy. I feel sickened by the choice we made. Not a single day passes without distress over this decision.’
All babies are special but Letby knew how much these identical twins meant to their mum.
After a number of failed IVF attempts, she had given up hope of ever conceiving.
‘Then, out of the blue on Valentine’s Day 2015, we discovered we were expecting twins,’ she told the court. ‘That feeling remains one of the happiest times in my life. I felt like I was walking on a cloud, pure happiness.
‘And that’s what confuses me the most. Lucy was aware of our journey and deliberately caused significant harm and cruelty to our boys. Lucy presented herself as kind, caring and soft-spoken. Now I know it was all an act, a sadistic abuse of power that has left me unable to trust anyone.’
Born prematurely, both boys appeared to be doing well. But in August 2015 Letby murdered Baby E by forcing a bit of medical equipment such as a rigid wire or suction tube down his throat and then finishing him off with an injection of air into the bloodstream. She then attempted to murder Baby F by injecting him with insulin 24 hours later.
Lucy Letby listens to the verdicts being read at Manchester Crown Court on August 11
‘It breaks my heart to know that things could have been so different for him,’ his mother added. ‘He is without his best friend, his other half. We have essentially grieved for both of our boys and the future we had planned.’
The surviving twin would be left with severe learning difficulties. His mother dreads the frequent hospital appointments he requires. ‘I never allow him to be alone with medical professionals,’ she said. ‘I know not every nurse is like Lucy, but the distorted side of my brain whispers that if it happened once and I couldn’t protect them, it might happen again.
‘Our worlds were shattered when we encountered evil disguised as a caring nurse. We are living with a life sentence because of Letby’s crimes.’
‘She will never have a sleepover, go to high school, have a first kiss, a boyfriend, or get married’
At her birth, Baby G was considered a ‘miracle’ baby, having arrived at just 23 weeks — she was smaller than her father’s hand.
But in September 2015, shortly after celebrating her 100th day alive, Letby attacked her twice, pumping milk and air into her feeding tube, leaving her severely disabled.
In the months that followed, the extent of the harm inflicted upon her slowly became clear, her father telling the court in a statement that when she was two an MRI scan showed evidence of brain damage.
The child is registered as blind, nil by mouth, and has cerebral palsy and progressive scoliosis (curvature of the spine). She requires a spinal operation but there is concern that she may not survive the surgery.
Lucy Letby last week refused to return to the dock as the jury continued to return verdicts
The child’s father explained that her needs are such that his wife gets only two hours’ sleep a night, resting on a day bed beside her.
‘Her condition affects every aspect of our lives,’ he said. ‘We see other families and their children fishing, playing football . . . other things we can’t do. She will never have a sleepover, go to high school, have a first kiss, a boyfriend, or get married. She will always be in her chair and depend on others . . . Our worry is: What if Baby G outlives us and has no one to care for her?’
Born following IVF, the court heard that her parents’ experience has left them so afraid of having another disabled baby, they have not had any more children, and have not returned to use the remaining embryos left in an IVF clinic overseas.
The father added: ‘For me, what happened has damaged my faith because every day I would sit there and pray . . . He [God] did save her, but the devil found her.’
‘She was our gorgeous little princess. A part of us died with her’
On the night her baby daughter died, the mother of Baby I was told she was doing so well there was a chance she could be home for Christmas.
Instead, she died in the early hours of October 23, 2015, with Letby convicted of murdering her by injecting air into her stomach.
‘I felt absolutely broken,’ the mother said in a statement read to court.
‘When they handed Baby I to us we never wanted to let her go, we held her so tight. She was our gorgeous little princess and I can’t even begin to explain the pain when we lost her. A part of us died with her.’
Such was her grief that in the year after Baby I’s death, she wore sunglasses permanently ‘to hide the pain and tears from my kids as I didn’t want to upset them as they were also struggling’.
And she added: ‘I would relive all these collapses and the emotions were like they were at that moment, happening again.
‘I would wake in the night in a panic because of the nightmares and night sweats.
‘I felt like I was sinking into a black hole and it was getting harder to keep myself going.’
She was later prescribed antidepressants, sleeping tablets and beta blockers.
She told the court that her husband wished he was dead, not their baby.
‘We separated for a while and went through a really tough time,’ she said. ‘We got back together and we knew we had to put our family back together.’
The loss of her child meant a subsequent pregnancy was highly stressful.
‘I don’t remember the pregnancy — I put a wall up and blocked it out,’ she said.
‘We were so scared of the same thing happening again, even the scans. They weren’t happy moments, they were just filled with fear.’
The new baby was the double of Baby I.
‘I didn’t breastfeed [my new daughter], as I had thought my milk might have been a cause of what happened to Baby I so I wasn’t prepared to take the risk,’ she said.
After Letby’s arrest, she says she and her partner were ‘both absolutely broken that someone could do something so evil to our precious little girl’.
She adds: ‘I don’t think we will ever get over the fact that our daughter was tortured until she had no fight left in her and everything she went through over her short life was deliberately done by someone who was supposed to protect her and help her come home where she belonged.’
‘Stress and strain have been unbearable and my mental health has suffered’
Baby L was allegedly poisoned with insulin in April 2016, while Baby M was later harmed by having air injected into his bloodstream. Letby was found guilty of attempting to murder both.
In a statement read to the court, their father told of the impact the attacks on his children had upon him and his family.
At one time he suffered a seizure, which doctors believe was called by the stress and pressure he was under.
‘I was first on the scene when Baby M had his collapse, and that image has been forever etched in my mind,’ he said. ‘The stress and strain have been unbearable at times and my mental health has suffered as a consequence of this case.
‘I have had to take time out of work and seek counselling. I also have had to take a course of antidepressants to help me cope with this.
‘Even though they have helped, they can never take away the feelings I have as a parent knowing now what truly happened at the Countess of Chester [Hospital] in 2016 and it doesn’t make it any easier to cope with over time.’
Killer nurse Letby would often pull funny faces for photos while out with friends. Two of her murders took place shortly after returning from a week-long holiday to Ibiza
Letby’s parents, Susan, 63, and John, 77, had attended every day of her trial but were not at today’s sentencing. They are seen on August 17
He also described how one day, when he attended court, Letby stared at him from the dock.
‘There was a day when I was at the trial and the public gallery was full and I was sat in Lucy Letby’s line of view and she kept looking over at me,’ he said.
‘That made me feel quite uncomfortable and uneasy and I had to move in the afternoon, so I was out of her view.
‘It was the worst day of our lives’
The mother of Baby N told the court she didn’t know if it was common sense or a mother’s instinct but ‘just knew’ her son had been deliberately harmed.
‘The day we were called to the neonatal unit was the worst day of our lives,’ she said.
‘The utter catastrophic scene when we arrived left a lasting impression on us. Seeing my tiny baby fighting for his life, the medics doing CPR on his body, not knowing if he will live or die, with no obvious cause.
‘We often hear about people dying of a broken heart. This is how we feel after this day . . . the pain is immeasurable.
Letby is seen smiling as she poses with her friends. She has now been confirmed as Britain’s worst ever child killer
Letby holding a drink (left) and posing with friends during a night out. The photos show how she was able to hide her inner evil during her private life
‘I honestly knew my son had been deliberately harmed, there was no natural explanation for his being poorly. I do not know whether it was common sense or mother’s instinct and I said so to my husband at the time.’
She said her son, now aged seven, sometimes gags when he eats or coughs or brushes his teeth, which she fears was due to Letby damaging his throat. The nurse had tried to murder him by injecting him with air and thrusting a hard plastic tube, some wire or piece of medical equipment down his throat.
She said their little boy still sleeps with a camera monitor at night and is home-schooled ‘because their trust in other people has been completely broken.’
She said: ‘We couldn’t keep him safe in hospital. As a parent it’s your duty . . . this was taken away from us in a place where he was at his safest . . . We do everything to keep him safe now, if that means wrapping him in cotton wool, then that is what we will do.
She said she and her partner had discussed having another baby but the fear of going back into a hospital, and especially a neonatal unit, ‘stopped them from doing so’.
‘Deciding what to write on their gravestones was a traumatic experience no mother should go through’
The court heard that the parents of two triplets, Babies O and P, had wanted to read their statements but in the end could not face coming to court.
Instead, a video-recorded statement from both of them was played to the hearing. Letby was found guilty of murdering Baby O by injecting him with air, overfeeding him with milk and inflicting trauma to his liver with ‘severe force’. She killed his brother the following day by overfeeding him with milk, injecting air and dislodging his breathing tube.
Letby was convicted of the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of six more at the Countess of Chester Hospital, in Cheshire (pictured)
In others she is seen wearing a Christmas jumper. One of the photos was captioned ‘Merry Christmas’
Following the death of Baby O, his mother said: ‘I was in a state of shock and disbelief, I couldn’t sleep and my mind was preoccupied by the care of the other two boys.’
The following day, when Baby P collapsed, she said she had the ‘awful sense it was happening again.
‘I started to blame myself, I genuinely believed I had passed an infection to the boys, I felt I had infected all three triplets.’
After Baby P died, she said she had a ‘horrible’ feeling her surviving son would be next.
‘The images of Baby O and Baby P’s bodies as experts made resuscitation attempts during those days continue to haunt me to this day.
‘I only have one photo of myself holding all three boys together, after Baby O passed away.
‘It was incredibly difficult having funerals for the boys, just deciding what was written on their gravestones was a traumatic experience no mother should go through. The whole ordeal has left me with no trust in any health professional, I live in fear of anything happening to my children.’
She said she now suffered from severe anxiety, panic attacks and had sought counselling.
‘My son, as he matures, asks questions about his brothers. We have never shied away from telling him he is one of triplets but those questions are heartbreaking and it is difficult to hide my emotions when answering, especially on the occasions we visit the cemetery. I know my sons also face difficult questions at school, like who is in their family and how many siblings they have.’
She said she found coming to court harrowing because it was the first time she had seen Letby in seven years. ‘Lucy Letby was the last person to hold Baby P and I must live with that guilt,’ she said.
‘She has destroyed our lives. It is difficult to comprehend how a person in that position, of such high standing could murder my boys.’