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22nd Aug 2023

Inside Europe’s largest prison where Lucy Letby will spend the rest of her life

Steve Hopkins

She will spend the first six months in the prison hospital

Serial killer nurse, Lucy Letby, will reportedly begin her sentence in Europe’s largest women’s prison, HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, where she will be in “quite considerable physical danger”.

The 33-year-old was handed a rare whole-life term on Monday for the “sadistic” murders of seven babies and the attempted murder of six others while she worked at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

Her convictions made Letby Britain’s worst-ever child serial killer, and she became only the fourth woman to ever been handed the severest of penalties. She joins the ranks of mass murderers Myra Hindley, Rose West, and Joanna Dennehy.

Letby will die behind bars, the only variable, is what prison it will be.

While those sentenced to life serve as average of 16.5 years behind bars, Letby will never be eligible for parole.

The Daily Telegraph suggested Tuesday that Letby would likely begin her sentence at HMP Bronzefield where she has already served time since her arrest in 2018.

According to the prison, 572 women are incarcerated there, including Shauna Hoare, who murdered teenager Becky Watts in 2015, and Roshonara Choudhry, who attempted to murder MP Stephen Timms in 2010. Serial killers Joanna Dennehy and Rose West were once incarcerated in HMP Bronzefield, but have since been transferred to other facilities.

While the prison offers rehabilitation programmes in the hope of reducing prisoner reoffending rates on release, Letby has no such chance.

Prison expert Mark Leech told The Telegraph that Letby would be a “restricted status” prisoner, meaning she is considering high risk, and equivalent to a Category A prisoner. He said she would be on suicide watch and spend at least the first six months out of the general prison population.

Leech said Letby would likely spend those first few months in the hospital wing of the prison so her mental and physical health can be assessed, and so she can be kept safe from other inmates.

She would then be moved to a cell on her own and be allowed out for one hour of exercise a day. Letby, the Telegraph report said, would be allowed visitors, and when she leaves her cell would be accompanied by several prison officers.

Leech predicted that Letby could be moved to a lower security prison after around 20 years.

Professor Yvonne Jewkes explained that her safety would be a concern for prison officers as Letby would be in “quite considerable physical danger”.

Letby’s trial heard how she often attacked infants moments after their parents or nurses left their sides. She injected seven with air, tried to kill two others by lacking their feeding bags with insulin and attempted to murder one by thrusting a nasogastric tube down his throat.

The court heard the motivation for her crimes is unclear and may never be known.

Related links:

Serial killer nurse Lucy Letby will die in jail after being given whole life order

Serial killer nurse Lucy Letby refuses to appear in court for sentencing

Chilling footage shows moment nurse Lucy Letby is arrested for murdering babies