Letby dies in jail after spending life looking over her shoulder – prison expert

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    Lucy Letby will die lonely in jail after spending the rest of her life looking over her shoulder for vengeance-seeking vigilantes, prison experts said.

    At 'best' the baby-killing nurse can expect to suffer 'extreme bullying and intimidation'. If she is not bumped off by a fellow inmate she is likely to spend years in soul-destroying isolation before dying behind bars.

    Letby, 33, is set to become just the fourth woman in history to receive a whole life order when she is sentenced tomorrow, Monday, August 21.

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    That would leave the nurse – who murdered seven babies and attempted to kill six others in a hospital neo-natal unit – with no hope of ever being freed.

    The same fate was meted out to fellow serial killers and life-means-lifers Rose West, Joanna Dennehy and late Moors murderer Myra Hindley – among 70 of Britain's most notorious criminals barred from ever getting parole.

    The Prison Oracle website editor Mark Leech, an ex-offender who spent 14 years in 62 different jails, says Letby's future was bleak.

    "She'll be what's known as a 'restricted status' prisoner – the female equivalent of Category A," he said.

    "She'll be on suicide watch and it will be some time before she gets to mingle with the main prison population – at least six months.

    "Her life for much of the next few years is going to be a lonely one.

    "She'll associate mostly with prison officers, her key worker and one or two cleaners. But much of that interaction will be through the hatch in her cell door.

    "She won't be able to do much other than read newspapers or books and watch TV. She'll get one hour of exercise by herself each day.

    "She will be able to phone her family and receive visits from them, but the police will have to vet them first.''

    Letby will initially be housed in HMP Bronzefield – the largest women's prison in Europe and home to some of Britain's most sadistic killers.

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    Built on the site of a residential school for orphans in Kent it houses 527 Category A female inmates and is 212 miles from the Chester home of her parents Susan and John – making regular visits difficult.

    Leech said Letby is unlikely to make friends in prison.

    "There will almost certainly be people who want to get close to her – but for all the wrong reasons," he said.

    "Any relationship she does build is going nowhere as every other prisoner in there will be released at some point or another.

    "This can be difficult mentally as it compounds the sense of isolation.

    "She's got to come to terms with the gravity of what she's done, why she did it, and the devastation she's caused to the lives of others.

    "But she's got the rest of her life to do that. She's going nowhere. She will die behind bars.''

    Yvonne Jewkes, professor of criminology at the University of Bath, said the main focus for the next few years would be Letby's safety in jail.

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    "She may well have a price on her head,'' she said. "At best she'll be subjected to extreme bullying and intimidation.

    "At worst she might be in quite considerable physical danger. At first she'll get a lot of psychological help and psychiatric treatment.

    "It will be a while before she participates in group activities.

    "But they will need to find ways to keep her busy. She might do an Open University degree, or an art therapy course, and she might be given certain small privileges, like access to a computer.

    "The question of whether prison is even the best place for her, let alone for the rest of her natural life, has got to be asked.

    "According to the Prison Reform Trust the public believes that sentences are still too lenient despite their lengths increasing over the last 25 years meaning Letby will likely be treated more harshly than someone who committed those crimes a decade ago.''

    Letby poisoned victims with insulin, injected them with milk or air or smothered them in a year-long killing spree inside the Countess Of Chester Hospital.

    Police suspect the rampage may have been driven by her desire to impress a married hospital doctor on whom she had a 'crush'.

    She either targeted tots she could then try to save or triggered collapses he would be called into treat – allowing them to spend time together.

    Police are probing her handling of up to 4,000 other patients in a hunt for more victims.

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    • Serial Killers
    • Family
    • Lucy Letby

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