Lucy Letby’s pals refuse to believe baby killer is guilty unless she admits it

Lucy Letby's childhood friends refuse to believe the twisted baby killer is guilty unless she U-turns and admits to her crimes.

Letby, 33, became just the fourth woman ever in the UK to be handed a whole life order when she was sentenced for murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others.

The former Countess of Chester Hospital neonatal nurse is the most prolific child serial killer in modern British history.

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Dawn Howe has known Letby since secondary school and grew up with her in Hereford.

Speaking to BBC's Panorama, she said: "Not a single thing that I've ever seen or witnessed of Lucy would let me for a moment believe that she was capable of the things she was being accused of.

"Unless Lucy turned around and said 'I'm guilty', I will never believe that she's guilty."

Howe said all of Letby's pals, who the former nurse told not to attend court, were standing by her.

"Of course it goes through your mind for an instant where you think what do the police know that I don't know," she admitted.

"But in that instant, it's gone in a second because it's replaced by 'I know Lucy, I've grown up with Lucy'."

Taking the opportunity to speak on behalf of Letby's friendship group, she went on: "We know she couldn't have done anything that she's accused of, so without a doubt, we stand by her.

"It is the most out-of-character accusation that you could ever put against Lucy. Think of your most kind, gentle, soft friend and think they're being accused of harming babies."

Howe also revealed she had been in contact with Letby through letters since her arrest.

"But she's not been able to have updates about all of her god children because she's not allowed to be told about any information pertaining to children," Howe added.

During Letby's trial, Manchester Crown Court heard how the "cold, cruel and relentless" nurse deliberately harmed babies in several ways, including injecting air into the bloodstream, injecting air into the stomach, overfeeding with milk, physical assaults and poisoning with insulin.

Sentencing her to spend the rest of her days behind bars, Mr Justice Goss said: "There was a malevolence bordering on sadism in your actions.

"During the course of this trial you have coldly denied any responsibility for your wrongdoing.

"You have no remorse. There are no mitigating factors."

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