Justice James Goss imposed the most severe sentence possible under British law on 33-year-old Letby.
‘Cruel and calculated campaign’
In his sentencing remarks, Justice Goss said the nurse had acted in “gross breach of trust” and with “premeditation, calculation and cunning”.
“This was a cruel, calculated and cynical campaign of child murder involving the smallest and most vulnerable of children. There was a deep malevolence bordering on sadism in your actions … You have no remorse. There are no mitigating factors … You will spend the rest of your life in prison,” said the judge.
“You acted in a way that was completely contrary to the normal human instincts of nurturing and caring for babies and in gross breach of the trust that all citizens place in those who work in the medical and caring professions. The babies you harmed were born prematurely and some were at risk of not surviving but in each case you deliberately harmed them, intending to kill them,” he said.
“Loving parents have been robbed of their cherished children. You have caused deep psychological trauma,” the judge added.
The victims, including two triplet boys, were killed in the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital in northwest England between June 2015 and June 2016.
Following 22 days of deliberation, a jury at Manchester Crown Court convicted Letby, 33, of killing the babies during a yearlong spree that saw her prey on the vulnerabilities of sick newborns and their anxious parents.
An Indian-origin consultant paediatrician at a northern England hospital is among those who blew the whistle on the “evil” nurse.
Dr Ravi Jayaram, from the Countess of Chester Hospital in Chester, said some of those lives could have been saved if his concerns about Letby had been heeded and the police alerted sooner.
Jayaram told the court that he felt “extremely uncomfortable” and found Letby doing “nothing” when a baby’s oxygen levels were dropping, the Daily Mail reported.
‘I am evil’
Among the mountain of evidence presented in court were many handwritten notes discovered by police during their investigation.
They included phrases such as: “I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them”; “I am evil I did this”; and “today is your birthday and you are not here and I am so sorry for that”. These notes gave an insight into Letby’s mindset following her attacks, the court was told.
Her lawyer defended the notes as the anguished writings of a woman who had lost confidence in herself and blamed herself for what had happened in the ward.
However, the CPS was able to show the jury that Letby was the one common denominator in the series of deaths and sudden collapses in the neonatal unit.
Only 3 women sentenced to life in prison in UK
Some 70 criminals are currently serving a whole-life order in the UK.
Only three women have previously been given the sentence: “Moors Murderer” Myra Hindley, who with her boyfriend Ian Brady killed five children in the 1960s, and serial killers Rose West and Joanna Dennehy. Hindley died in 2002.
Harold Shipman, a medical doctor who killed 15 of his patients but is suspected to have murdered as many as 250, was given a whole-life term in 2000.
He killed himself in his cell in 2004.
(With inputs from agencies)