Killer nurse Lucy Letby inquiry to be made statutory after families demands

Sunak and Starmer react as Lucy Letby given whole life order

The formal probe into Lucy Letby’s killings has been made into a statutory inquiry, following demands from bereaved parents. 

The move, announced by the Government this evening, means the inquiry will have enforceable legal powers to compel witnesses to give evidence under oath. 

Announcing the decision, Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “The crimes committed by Lucy Letby are truly harrowing, and my thoughts remain with the families of her victims”.

“Following her conviction, we announced an inquiry and said the nature of this inquiry would be shaped by the families.

Having now discussed this with the families, we will launch a full statutory inquiry giving it the legal powers to compel witnesses to give evidence.

This statutory public inquiry will aim to give the families the answers they need and ensure lessons are learned.”

Ministers, including the Health Secretary and Rishi Sunak, originally rejected calls for a statutory inquiry, believing families Lucy Letby’s victims would appreciate the probe concluding more quickly. 

However relatives soon came out to demand a thorough investigation be prioritised over a speedy one. 

Last Friday, a lawyer representing two of the families said: “It is crucial that the judge and the inquiry have the powers to compel witnesses to give evidence under oath, and to force disclosure of documents”.

“For that to happen, the inquiry needs to be put on a statutory basis. Otherwise, it will lack legal teeth and is likely to be ineffective.”

Steve Barclay has said that when he first announced an inquiry, he was “very clear we would shape that inquiry around the wishes of the families”. 

“My priority is to ensure that the families get the answers they deserve, that people are held to account where they need to b, that’s what I’ve discussed with the families and we are reflecting their wishes”. 

Letby was sentenced to 14 whole-live orders a week ago, and will die in prison. 

She is the most prolific child serial killer in modern British history, and her refusal to attend her sentencing hearing has also launched a move by the government to ensure criminals in future must attend and hear their fate. 

This morning Rishi Sunak announced judges will get extra powers to order criminals to face their victims’ families, and could face extra time on their sentences if they refuse. 


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