Lucy Letby‘s parents have not turned up to see their daughter sentenced after she was confirmed as the most prolific child serial killer in modern British history.
The nurse’s parents, Susan, 63, and John, 77, were a constant presence during her ten-month trial at Manchester Crown Court and attended every day.
But they were not present for the final verdicts last Friday, and again failed to turn up this morning for the sentencing hearing as she faces a whole-life order.
Mr and Mrs Letby had been so determined to hear all the evidence against their daughter that they relocated to Manchester from their home in Hereford.
But earlier last week, Mrs Letby broke down in court as the guilty verdicts began to be returned, crying out: ‘You can’t be serious. This cannot be right.’
John and Susan Letby, the parents of nurse Lucy Letby, arrive at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday last week (August 17, 2023) – the last time they were in court for the case
Lucy Letby last week refused to return to the dock as the jury continued to return verdicts
Lucy Letby’s parents John and Susan Letby arrive at Manchester Crown Court last Thursday
Lucy Letby is pictured as a child (left) and following her graduation (right) in December 2011, which her parents marked with an announcement in their local paper, the Hereford Times
Last week, Letby refused to return to the dock as the jury continued to return verdicts and the court was told she did not want to take any part in her sentencing hearing, and would not follow the hearing via video-link from prison.
She again refused to attend court today, despite being brought there in a prison van.
The nurse murdered seven babies and tried to kill six more while working at the Countess of Chester Hospital neonatal unit between 2015 and 2016.
Investigators suspect Letby had told her parents scant detail about the crimes she was being accused of before it was laid out in front of them in court.
A source told the Daily Mail last week that Letby’s mother was distraught when she was arrested in 2018 – wailing, crying and even telling police, ‘I did it, take me instead,’ in a desperate bid to protect her.
At the time of Letby’s arrest, her parents’ neighbours told The Times that the family were devastated.
One was reported as having said: ‘She’s an only child. Do I have to say anymore? I just feel for them so much. I feel so helpless that there is nothing we can do.’
Retail boss John and Susan, an accounts clerk, raised Letby as an only child in a 1930s semi-detached home in a cul-de-sac.
They still live in the same house – which they bought shortly after their marriage – and holiday in Torquay three times a year, taking Letby with them right up until she was arrested in July 2018.
Nothing suggests Mr and Mrs Letby were anything but caring parents who showered their daughter with love from the moment she was born – five months after they married in July 1989.
Growing up, Letby was a ‘delight’ to her parents – neighbours remembered.
She had a part-time job at WH Smith in the city, and her parents were immensely proud when she became the first in their family to go to university.
October 4, 2022: John and Susan Letby at Manchester Crown Court just before her trial began
Lucy Letby listens to the verdicts being read at Manchester Crown Court on August 11
When she attained her honours degree they marked her graduation, in December 2011, with an announcement in their local paper, the Hereford Times.
Alongside a picture of her wearing a mortarboard and clutching her degree certificate, they wrote: ‘Letby Lucy BSc Hons in Child Nursing. We are so proud of you after all your hard work. Love Mum and Dad.’
A similar announcement, with an accompanying photograph of Letby as a young child, was also placed in the same newspaper to mark her 21st birthday.
But texts Letby exchanged with colleagues hinted she sometimes felt smothered by her mother and father and guilty about moving away. She explained they missed her and hated her living alone.
She appeared to speak or text them every day and described them as ‘suffocating at times’. She told one doctor friend who was considering moving to New Zealand that she could never do that as it would ‘completely devastate’ them.
‘Find it hard enough being away from me now and it’s only 100 miles,’ she said.
In a message to another friend, she wrote: ‘My parents worry massively about everything & anything, hate that I live alone etc.
‘I feel bad because I know it’s really hard for them especially as I’m an only child, and they mean well, just a little suffocating at times and constantly feel guilty.’
Mrs Letby sometimes broke into tears in court during the trial and appeared anxious during breaks when her daughter was undergoing particularly tough periods of questioning by the prosecution.
As the guilty verdicts were returned, Mrs Letby broke into a series of anguished sobs which continued even after she had left the court.
WATCH THE MAIL’S LUCY LETBY DOCUMENTARY IN FULL HERE