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Public inquiry into Lucy Letby's crimes must be strengthened, ex-chief nursing officer urges

THE public inquiry into the crimes of serial killer Lucy Letby must be strengthened, the ex-chief nursing officer urged today. 

Dame Christine Beasley said the non-statutory nature of the probe announced last week after the baby killer’s conviction means witnesses “can opt out if they want to.”

The intervention came as Tory Children’s Minister Claire Coutinho argued that the independent inquiry will be “much quicker.”

Letby, 33, today became just the fourth woman in British criminal history to be given a whole-life sentence with no chance of parole, for the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of six more on the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital between 2015 and 2016.

The ex-nurse refused to attend the sentencing hearing at Manchester Crown Court, where Justice Goss described her offences as being of a “very exceptional seriousness.”

He added: “This was a cruel, calculated and cynical campaign of child murder involving the smallest and most vulnerable of children.”

Prior to the sentencing, Ms Coutinho told Sky News: “A non-statutory inquiry is often much quicker.

“Everyone wants to make sure that this will never ever happen again and I think speed is of the essence to make sure that expectant parents across the country can feel assured that they know there are steps in place.”

But Dame Christine told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think what a statutory inquiry will do is compel people to come and give evidence where in an independent inquiry people can opt out of it. 

“Whatever the outcome of the independent inquiry, I feel that relatives and patients will not feel that they’ve got to the bottom of it.

“I think on balance it would be best to do a statutory inquiry.”

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