Lucy Letby told police she couldn’t recall the details of a baby’s fatal collapse even though at the time she had messaged a colleague about the infant’s father ‘screaming’ in distress, a jury heard today.
The 33-year-old nurse is accused of murdering five boys and two girls and trying to kill 10 others at the Countess of Chester Hospital from June 2015 to June 2016.
Prosecutors say she injected the infants with air, poisoned them with insulin, overfed them with milk and physically assaulted them. She denies murder.
Manchester Crown Court today heard how the alleged killer broke the news of Baby D’s death in a WhatsApp to an off-duty friend on the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital, telling her: ‘We lost D’.
The friend commiserated with her, saying: ‘I can’t believe you were on again. You’re having such a tough time.’
Court sketch of Nicholas Johnson KC cross-examining nurse Lucy Letby, as she appears in the dock at Manchester Crown Court where she is charged with the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of 10 others
Alleged killer Lucy Letby broke the news of Baby D’s death in a WhatsApp to an off-duty friend on the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital, telling her: ‘We lost D’, the court heard on Friday
Letby responded with a term that nurses on the unit used to describe a baby’s collapse. ‘Messed about a couple of times,’ she wrote. ‘She came out in this weird rash…looking like overwhelming sepsis’.
She then went on to explain that doctors and nurses trying to save Baby D’s life on June 22, 2015, had moved to a state of full resuscitation, adding: ‘So upsetting for everyone. Parents absolutely distraught, dad screaming’.
Nick Johnson KC, prosecuting at Manchester Crown Court, reminded Letby that when interviewed by police three years later she had told detectives she could not remember much about Baby D or the circumstances of her collapse.
He put it to her: ‘This was a dramatic and shocking incident, wasn’t it? In reality, you remembered it very well when you spoke to the police, didn’t you?’
‘No’, replied Letby, as her parents John and Susan Letby watched the from the public gallery.
The barrister then asked: ‘You were enjoying all of this, weren’t you Lucy Letby?’
‘No,’ the defendant again insisted.
Letby disputed she was the nurse who had rung an on-call consultant and then held the phone to a doctor’s ear while he made desperate attempts to resuscitate Baby D.
‘I agree it happened, but I can’t say it was me that made the phone call’.
Later, the 33-year-old accused told jurors that mistakes by hospital colleagues led to the death of one of her alleged victims.
She insisted a delay in giving antibiotics to the newborn girl’s mother after her waters broke early ‘may have had an impact’.
John and Susan Letby, parents of the defendant, are pictured arriving at Manchester Crown Court on Friday morning to watch their daughter giving evidence
Letby told jurors that mistakes by hospital colleagues led to the death of one of her alleged victims
The former nurse allegedly administered air to the infant via an intravenous line while she worked a night shift on the neonatal unit.
Child D, a full-term baby, died in the early hours of June 22 2015, two days after her birth.
The prosecution say she was stable and progressing well when Letby went on duty to care for two other babies in the same nursery.
Giving her seventh day of evidence on Friday, Letby told the court it was not her case that staffing levels contributed to Child D’s death.
Mr Johnson said: ‘Is it your case that medical competency contributed?’
Letby said: ‘Yes. I believe she didn’t have appropriate treatment at the start of her life.’
Pressing on, the prosecutor asked: ‘The delay with antibiotics?’
Letby said: ‘Yes. It may have had an impact.’
The jury of eight women and four men previously heard from Child D’s designated nurse that she was on a break when the infant first collapsed in nursery one.
Mr Johnson said: ‘Did you take the opportunity because she was absent to sabotage (Child D)?’
The 33-year-old, previously claimed that consultants at the Countess of Chester had tried to pin the blame on her for a number of alleged baby deaths
‘No,’ Letby said.
Two further deteriorations followed as medics were unable to resuscitate Child D. Mr Johnson continued: ‘(Child D) died because you injected her with air?’
‘No, I didn’t,’ declared the defendant.
The barrister asked: ‘They (antibiotics) don’t guard against air embolus do they?’ She agreed they did not.
Letby said she ‘didn’t know’ whether she had been standing over Baby D’s cot when the alarms went off.
Mr Johnson then suggested to her that Baby D had died at a time she was ‘babysitting’ her ‘because you injected her with air…just like Baby A and Baby C’.
Letby replied: ‘I did not give her air’.
She denied having decided at her first police interview ‘just to say ‘I don’t remember’.
‘No,’ she told Mr Johnson. ‘I tried to be as cooperative as I could be’.
As the barrister prepared to question her about Baby E, Letby asked: ‘Can I have a break please?’
The trial judge, Mr Justice Goss, agreed and said he would adjourn the case for an early lunch.
On Thursday, Letby told the court a ‘gang of four’ consultants at the Countess of Chester pinned the blame on her for a number of baby deaths to cover up hospital failings.
A court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Lucy Letby looking upset when Nicholas Johnson KC (right) questioned her on Thursday
She said staffing levels contributed ‘in part’ to the death of her first alleged victim, Child A, on June 8 2015.
Letby claimed the boy was without fluids for some time and there was an issue with his intravenous line insertion. She denied injecting him with air.
Letby is accused of trying to murder the boy’s twin sister, Child B, using the same method on the next night shift.
She told the court she did not know why Child B had collapsed.
Letby said she also could not explain the collapses of Child C, a baby boy, who died in the early hours of June 14.
She again denied she took an opportunity to sabotage Child C when his designated nurse left the room.
Letby said her colleague was ‘insufficiently qualified’ to look after the infant.
The defendant, from Hereford, denies murdering seven babies and trying to murder 10 others between June 2015 and June 2016.
The trial continues.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk