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Child killer Lucy Letby ‘to be stripped’ of NHS pension after conviction

Lucy Letby   (PA Media)
Lucy Letby (PA Media)

Lucy Letby faces being stripped of her NHS pension after being convicted of the “sadistic” murders of seven babies, it was revealed on Wednesday.

It is understood the Government is looking at ways to prevent the benefit being paid to the serial killer who was this week sentenced to a whole life term in prison.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay has the power to block pension payments where an NHS employee has been convicted of certain offences.

The Department for Health and Social Care told the Standard it could not comment on individual cases, but added that offences where staff would face losing their pension include those that are “gravely injurious to the State” or that “lead to serious loss of confidence in the public service”.

Letby, who is Britain’s worst child killer, refused to leave her cell for sentencing on Monday, where the parents of her newborn victims described the horrifying impact the crimes had on their families.

The 33-year-old became only the third woman alive to be handed a whole-life jail term when she was sentenced for murdering seven newborns and attempting to kill another six.

The Government is under growing pressure to upgrade an official inquiry into how she was allowed to commit the crimes while working as a nurse at the Countess of Chester hospital’s neonatal unit between 2015 and 2016.

Victims’ families and experts want the investigation strengthened to become a statutory inquiry, giving its chairman full legal powers to summon witnesses to give evidence. The inquiry was announced last week on a non-statutory basis amid concerns that a statutory investigation could drag on.

Former home secretary Jack Straw said on Wednesday that some witnesses “won’t be bothered about being shamed” for not attending unless the probe is put on a statutory footing. He told BBC Radio 4: “There may be witnesses in the Letby case who ... won’t be bothered about being shamed — they would rather be shamed for their absence than actually appear on the stand.

“Being able to compel a witness is really very, very important. There isn’t really any direct connection between whether an inquiry is judicially-led with full powers and whether it is speedy.”

Downing Street this week did not rule out upgrading the inquiry.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We have ordered an independent inquiry into the circumstances behind the horrific murders and attempted murders of babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

“The inquiry has been launched to learn vital lessons and provide answers to the parents and families impacted.”