Lucy Letby witnesses WILL be made to testify in inquiry as probe is upgraded to ensure families get justice | The Sun

NHS staff will be forced to give evidence under oath to the Lucy Letby probe – as ministers beefed up the inquiry.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay confirmed that the Government will back the investigation into the killer nurse, 33, who was found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to kill several more.

Last week Rishi Sunak confirmed The Sun's report that he was on the hunt for a top judge to lead the probe in a bid to give families faith in the probe.

And now they will make the probe statutory – meaning people will be forced to reveal what they know about the scandal.

Mr Barclay met with families this week who told him they wanted the inquiry to have far-reaching powers and to be able to force people to attend.

They feared that NHS staff and those involved in the scandal would try and dodge giving evidence, leaving them without desperately-needed answers.

Mr Barclay said this evening: "The crimes committed by Lucy Letby are truly harrowing, and my thoughts remain with the families of her victims.

"Having now discussed this with the families, we will launch a full statutory inquiry giving it the legal powers to compel witnesses to give evidence.

"This statutory public inquiry will aim to give the families the answers they need and ensure lessons are learned."

The Treasury has signed off millions of pounds to pay for the beefed up investigation.

Previous inquiries have cost up to £13million.

But the probe may not take longer to conclude.

The evidence must be heard in public, unless the judge declares otherwise.

The inquiry will investigate the wider circumstances around what happened at the Trust, including the handling of concerns and governance, what actions were taken by regulators and the wider NHS.

Richard Scorer, Head of Abuse Law and Public Inquiries, Slater and Gordon, who are representing some of the families, welcomed the news last night.

He said: "This inquiry is essential for the parents of Letby’s victims, but it is also important for all of us.  

"We all need to be sure that the NHS delivers the best possible care, that hospital management is accountable and responsive to concerns, and that whistleblowers are treated fairly.

"We cannot let what occurred at the Countess of Chester Hospital to ever happen again. This inquiry must lay bare the facts of what happened but it must also be the start of much needed change”.  

Britain's most prolific child killer murdered seven babies in a year-long reign of terror at Countess of Chester Hospital.

She also attempted to kill six others as she became a "constant malevolent presence" on the neo-natal ward.

The nurse used insulin and air to inject newborns, with the collapses and deaths of 13 children not "naturally-occurring tragedies" but instead the work of "poisoner" Letby.

She was convicted of seven counts of murder following a nine-month trial and 22 days of jury deliberation.

Her murderous rampage was finally uncovered after staff grew suspicious of the "significant rise" in the number of babies dying.
Letby was found to be the "common denominator" among the deaths and collapses.

Chillingly, police fear she could be behind more attacks in other hospitals where she worked.

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Letby last week became the fourth woman ever to be handed a whole life tariff after Rose West, Joanna Dennehy and Myra Hindley, who died in 2002.

The shameless monster refused to enter court to face justice in what the families of her victims described as a "final act of wickedness from a coward".

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