What life in prison would be like for Lucy Lightby with no hope of a pardon (2023)

It is five years since Lucy Lebby was first arrested at her home in Chester. At 6am in July 2018, police knocked on the door and led the killer's nurse away in handcuffs as her father looked on.

Raby was detained after his third arrest in November 2020 and has been in prison since then, spending a total of 1,012 days in four different prisons.

Because of her heinous crimes—Raby was found guilty of murdering seven newborns and attempting to murder six othersShe spent the rest of her life in the Countess of Chester Hospital between 2015 and 2016.

However, unlike other prisoners serving life sentences, Lebby was given a "life imprisonment order", making her the fourth defendant in British history to have no hope of a pardon.

What life in prison would be like for Lucy Lightby with no hope of a pardon (1)

it belongsRoss West, a serial killerJoanna Dennehyand the late swamp killerMyra Hidley, are notorious for their corrupt, brutal practices.

Tom Nicholson, lead criminal lawyer for both buildings at Harcourt House, explained that life sentences were extremely rare, particularly among women.

"While a normal life sentence has a minimum sentence that a prisoner must serve before being considered for release, a full life sentence is different," he said. “That means they will never be released on a court order or considered for parole.

"Gender is not part of sentencing policy, but inevitably there is an inherent bias in the system. Judgments will be made around risk factors and mitigating measures, which may favor female offenders over male offenders. This means fewer women are given such an order."

There are currently around 70 lifers in the country, including murderer Milly Dowler, according to the Department of JusticeLevi Belfield,Michael Adebolajo, the man who killed British soldier Lee Rigby,Mark Bridger, kidnapped and killed five-year-old April Jones, andWayne CousinsThe former police officer who kidnapped, raped and killed Sarah Everard in 2021.

The sentence is the harshest in the UK criminal code and was introduced in 1983 as a way of punishing defendants over the age of 21 for "extremely" serious crimes.

While lifers serve an average of 16.5 years in prison, "lifers" have no chance of parole because their cases are not subject to regular Parole Board review. In this case life really means life.

So what makes the Wrightby case suitable for such a strict order?

After all, there are many female criminals among themBeverly ElliottA former nurse known as the "Angel of Death" whose case is eerily similar to Lebby's is serving the usual life sentence and could one day be released.

Mr Nicholson explained: "The majority of lifers in prison are murderers or multiple murderers. Not only that, but their crimes also have extremely serious circumstances, such as involving children or sex crimes, killing police officers or being linked to terrorism. Kill.

"This is a pure criminal offence. The offense was so serious that recovery was impossible. The rest of your life is wasted. It's all about punishing someone who has committed such a heinous crime."

To ensure Lebby will spend the rest of her life in prison, the court also made a decision based on her risk of re-offending if she is released after 16 years, aged 49.

But others were less sure it was the right punishment for such a young offender.

Yvonne Jewkes, professor of criminology at the University of Bath, said: "One has to wonder if prison is the best place for her, let alone the rest of her natural life."

“Since Beverley Allitt [who was sentenced to 13 life terms – but not life – for murdering a baby she was caring for at a Lincolnshire hospital in 1991, we've become a much more punitive country, after serving 30 years she's now eligible for parole] .According to the Foundation for Prison Reform, the public perception that sentences are still too lenient despite increases in sentences over the past 25 years means that Lebbie is likely treating people who commit these crimes more harshly than a decade ago.

In fact, sentencing data show that 36 life sentences have been handed down since 2013 (more than half of all life sentences handed down so far), suggesting that the use of life sentences is on the rise.

Leby is expected to begin her sentence at HMP Bronzefield prison in Surrey, where she is already serving time, Europe's largest women's prison and home to some of the UK's most brutal killers.

Dennehy and West spent time there before being transferred, and current inmates include Souna Hoare, the man who killed teenager Becky Watts in 2015, and al-Qaeda fanatics.Rossonara ChowdhuryIn 2010, he stabbed Labor MP Stephen Timms.

Three years ago, reports emerged that Bronze Fields, home to more than 550 inmates, had opened a new "holistic wellness center" inside the maximum-security facility, offering yoga, pilates, tai chi and New Age activities like meditation that made the prison headlines.

But Mark Rich, a prison expert, former inmate and editor of the Prison Oracle website, said life for Lebby was anything but comfortable.

"She will be a so-called 'restricted status' prisoner: the equivalent of a Class A prisoner," he explained. "He will be on suicide watch and unable to communicate with key prison staff for a long time - at least six months."

He explained that Raby would initially be held in the prison's hospital wing to assess her mental and physical health, as well as her safety from other inmates, before being moved individually to cells.

"Her life will be solitary for the coming years. She will primarily interact with prison officers, key prison staff and one or two cleaners, but most interactions will be door-to-door through her cell.

"He won't be able to do much except read the newspaper, read a book and watch TV. She will exercise alone for an hour a day. She will be able to call family members and receive their visits, but the police will have to check them first."

Although Lebbie's parents Susan and John attended her nine-month trial at Manchester Crown Court every day, HMP Bronzefield is 212 miles (almost a four-hour drive) from their home in Chester, making arranging visits easy. It's hard to get.

Professor Jukes said the main focus for the next few years would be Lebie's safety. "There could be a price on her head. At best, he would be subjected to extreme harassment and intimidation. At worst, he could be in significant physical danger.

"Every time he leaves his cell, he has to be accompanied by several prison guards. Like everything else, it's an extremely expensive undertaking."

Ultimately, like West, who will eventually be allowed to participate in book groups, baking competitions and the freedom to roam the grounds of HMP New Hall in Leipzig, Yorkshire, he will get some free time.

"Initially, he will receive a lot of psychological help and spiritual therapy. It will take some time before he starts participating in group activities.

"But they have to find ways to keep her occupied - she could do the Open University or an art therapy course, maybe be given little privileges like access to a computer."

Mr Leach said it was unlikely Lebby would make any friends in prison. There will almost certainly be people who will want to come to her, but for the wrong reasons, he added.

"Any relationship he makes will not go anywhere because all the other inmates there will be released at some point. It can be psychologically challenging because it exacerbates the feeling of isolation."

As for the future, he expects to be transferred to a lower security prison in 20 years.

Like any other sentence, a life sentence can be overturned on appeal, but this only happens in a few cases, and in Leby prison it is highly unlikely. They can also be overturned for "exceptional compassionate reasons", but this has not been disclosed so far.

"He has to accept the gravity of what he did, why he did it and the damage he caused to other people's lives," Mr Leach said. "But she has the rest of her life to do it. He's not going anywhere No: he'll die in prison."


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