The mother of a baby boy killed by nurse Lucy Letby says she is “horrified that someone so evil exists” and it was like “something out of a horror story”.
The 33-year-old was found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to kill six others at the Countess of Chester Hospital between 2015 and 2016.
Her conviction makes her the UK’s most prolific child serial killer in modern British history.
Letby refused to appear in the dock as she was given a whole-life sentence.
The public gallery was full of parents of the babies – some cried quietly as the victim impact statements were read.
Some of the jury members, who sat through nine months of evidence, also appeared upset as they heard the statements.
The mother of Baby C, who became emotional as she read her statement, told the court that knowing her son’s murderer was watching over them was like “something out of a horror story”.
“I will always remember the overwhelming wave of emotion I felt when I first held [Baby C],” she said.
“It was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. My tiny feisty boy. My first born. My son.
“The trauma of that night will live with us forever.”
The parents of Baby A and B said “what should have been the happiest time of our lives became our worst nightmare”.
They said perhaps Letby imagined she would be remembered for her crimes but they told the court: “My family will never think of you again – from this day, you are nothing.”
“You thought you could enter our lives and turn it upside down but you will never win,” they said.
“We hope you live a very long life and spend every day suffering for what you’ve done”
The mother of Baby D, who was holding a toy rabbit as she read her statement, said Letby’s “wicked sense of entitlement and abuse of her role as a trusted nurse” was a “scandal”.
“You failed God and the plans he had for [Baby D]. You even called it fate,” she said.
“You were clearly disconnected with God.”
The mother of Baby E and F described Letby as a “coward” for failing to attend the sentencing hearing, adding: “Our world was shattered when we encountered evil disguised as a caring nurse.”
“Even in these final days of the trial she has tried to control things,” she said.
“The disrespect she has shown the families and the court show what type of person she is.
“We have attended court day in and day out, yet she decides she has had enough, and stays in her cell – just one final act of wickedness from a coward.”
She added: “I still struggle to understand why it happened to us. Lucy presented herself as kind, caring, and soft-spoken.
“Now I know it was all an act, a sadistic abuse of power that has left me unable to trust anyone.”
The parents of Baby G said they baby girl had been left severely disabled as a result of Letby’s attacks.
“What if she outlives us? Who will care for her then?
“Her condition affects every aspect of our lives,” they said.
Baby G was the most premature of all the babies, weighing just 535g (1lb 3oz).
They told the court: “God saved her” but then “the devil found her”.
In a statement, read out on behalf of Baby I’s mother, she said: “When they told us they were arresting someone for [Baby I’s] murder, I remember my whole body shaking.
“We were both absolutely broken that someone could do something so evil to our precious little girl and this has had a massive effect on our family even until this day.
“I don’t think we will ever get over the fact that our daughter was tortured till she had no fight left in her.
“Everything she went through over her short life was deliberately done by someone who was supposed to protect her and help her come home where she belonged.”
The father of Baby L and Baby M said: “Initially doctors told us that the whole events that took place in 2016 surrounding my children was normal for premature babies and we believed what the doctors were telling us at the time.
“Little did we know that a year or so after their birth the police would come knocking on the door and break the news that this could be an attempted murder case.”
He said he had been prescribed anti-depressants.
“Even though they have helped, they can never take away the feelings I have as a parent knowing now what had truly happened at the Countess of Chester in 2016, and it doesn’t make it any easier to cope with over time,” he said.
In a statement read to court, the mother of Baby N, who survived, said she always knew her son had been deliberately harmed.
She said she felt “happy and relieved” when the police got in contact to say they were investigating Letby because “we felt like we were being listened to”.
“Finally we would receive some answers,” she said.
“We just questioned why a healthy baby boy was fine one minute and bleeding from the mouth and needing CPR the next.”
In a video statement, the mother of triplet brothers Baby O and P said going through “firsts” with the surviving triplet was “very hard”.
“I hate the fact that Lucy Letby was the last person to hold Baby P,” she said, adding the nurse had “destroyed our lives”.
Their father said he felt like he had been “stabbed in the heart, no words could describe how I was feeling”.
“We have tried to explain to our children that there’s a lady in prison and that the police think that this lady has hurt your brothers,” he said.
“We did this in case they hear anything from a third party or at school.
“Having to come to terms with a police investigation has been hard to live with.”
He said he had “so many unanswered questions” and the waiting had been “unbearable”.
Letby will spend the rest of her life behind bars, becoming only the fourth woman in UK history to receive such a sentence.
Earlier, Nicholas Johnson KC, prosecuting, told the court Letby’s offending was a “very, very clear case” for a whole-life tariff to be imposed.
He said the murders qualified on a number of grounds, including they were premeditated and they involved an elements of “sadistic conduct”.
Mr Johnson said there was also more than one victim and those victims were children.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also said it was “cowardly” for convicted criminals not to face victims or their families in court.