Despite the harrowing crimes that led to Lucy Letby becoming Britain’s most notorious child murderer, her childhood friend, Dawn Howe, ardently defends her innocence. Letby, now known for the murder of seven babies, received 14 whole life sentences, ensuring she will spend the remainder of her days incarcerated.
Speaking to the BBC, Ms. Howe, who has known Letby since their days in Hereford, said, “Unless Lucy admitted to being guilty, I would never believe she is.” Emphasizing that this sentiment is shared among many of Letby’s acquaintances, Howe further stated, “The charges against Lucy are wholly out of character. Think about your kindest, gentlest friend being accused of such heinous acts.”
Letby’s crimes have caused significant turmoil, leading to strong public demand for greater accountability from NHS administrators. Reports suggest that Letby’s sinister actions were overlooked for a considerable time before her removal from frontline duties. This has sparked discussions on regulating hospital officials similarly to medical professionals.
An ongoing debate is whether the inquiry into Letby’s crimes should be statutory, compelling witnesses to give evidence. Letby, notably, was absent during her sentencing, a move that has been widely criticized. The government has indicated potential changes to ensure serious criminals attend their hearings.
Tamlin Bolton, representing seven of Letby’s victims’ families, conveyed the families’ disappointment with Letby’s absence. Dr. Stephen Brearey, who initially raised concerns about Letby, emphasized the importance of holding NHS administrators accountable, noting the lack of a systematic structure that checks their actions.
His colleague, Dr. Ravi Jayaram, echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the absence of a robust system of accountability in the NHS, which needs reform.
Given the seriousness of Letby’s crimes and their repercussions on the NHS’s functioning, the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) is advocating for enhanced whistleblower protection. They suggest a legally backed structure to safeguard those who voice concerns within the NHS.
The government has not ruled out a statutory inquiry into Letby’s offenses. However, they emphasize a transparent process that offers answers to the victims’ families.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan acknowledged that while the nature of the inquiry remains undecided, it’s paramount for the affected families to get the answers they deserve. Sir Robert Francis KC, familiar with NHS investigations, believes the victims’ families should have a say in determining the inquiry’s nature. Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer also reiterated his support for a statutory inquiry.