Crime: Series of baby murders shakes Great Britain

The dock remains empty while sentences are being announced for the worst series of baby murders in recent British history.

Crime: Series of baby murders shakes Great Britain

The dock remains empty while sentences are being announced for the worst series of baby murders in recent British history. Former nurse Lucy Letby, who killed seven babies and tried to kill at least six others, is refusing to take part in the final day of the trial in Manchester. The mother of two victims criticized the behavior of the 33-year-old as the "last act of wickedness of a coward." Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made a similar statement. He wants criminals to be required by law to attend their sentencing in person.

A jury found Letby guilty on Friday, and Judge James Goss wanted to announce the sentence on Monday. Prosecutor Nicholas Johnson demanded the maximum sentence: Letby should never be released. There are several intentional acts with elements of "sadistic behavior". If Goss accepts the request, Letby would be the fourth woman in Britain to be sentenced to "whole life order". As the newspaper "Guardian" reported, Letby could also have tried to kill babies in dozens of other cases.

An alphabet of horror

Above all, however, the day belongs to the relatives. In statements, often in tears, they tell how the death of their babies changed their lives. Unlike the accused, their names may not be reported, so the victims have been given letters: from child A to child Q - it's an alphabet of horror.

For example, there is child D. Born prematurely, the girl died suddenly. The burial took place before the expected date of birth. "My arms, my heart, my life felt so painfully empty," said the mother, overwhelmed by emotions, in court. She wonders every day if she abandoned her daughter.

"Ultimately she wanted to play God"

In many cases it was Letby who took care of the small bodies after death. For example, with Child C, a boy, she helped put together a box of memories with a footprint. She washed the body of Child E, also a boy, before dressing it in a woolen robe that she and her colleagues had specially chosen. As the child's mother tells, Letby had witnessed the whole family planning process, finally it worked with twins. E's brother, Child F, survived the attempted murder. "Lucy knew about our trip and intentionally caused our boys significant harm and cruelty," says the mother.

The relatives emphasize that thanks to the verdict, they can start to close with the death of their children. "We wanted justice for (Child D), and that day has come," says his mother. Another calls Letby a "nobody". But the question of why is still open. Because the former nurse denies her guilt to the last, her motive remains hidden.

Prosecutor Johnson put forward several theories at trial. "Ultimately, she wanted to play God," he said of a case in which Letby discussed the impending death of a baby with a colleague. "She was enjoying what was happening and cheerfully predicting something that she knew was going to happen," Johnson said. Letby overfed child P with milk 13 minutes after she killed his triplets.

Why wasn't Letby stopped sooner?

Another possibility is that the young woman wanted to make herself interesting to a doctor with whom she allegedly fell in love. The British media reported that she reacted emotionally to the man's statement for the only time in the entire process.

Notes may remain the only clue to a confession. "I'm bad, I did this," read a sticky note that investigators found in Letby's apartment. She also wrote: "I don't deserve to live. I killed her on purpose because I'm not good enough to take care of her. I will never get married or have children. I will never know what it's like to have a family have." Letby said at trial the notes were merely an expression of her mental anguish after the children in her care died. The jury didn't believe her.

It is also unclear why Letby was not stopped earlier. The clinic management had ignored or even brusquely rejected suggestions from colleagues or superiors. The government has ordered an investigation. "Nothing can change what happened to us," says the mother of children E and F. "We are serving a life sentence for Lucy's crimes."