Published by BBC NEWS - 25th April 2023
  • Published
Lucy LetbyImage source, SWNS

Nurse Lucy Letby wanted to go to the funeral of a baby girl she allegedly murdered, a court has heard.

Ms Letby is accused of killing the premature baby, referred to as Child I, at the fourth attempt on 23 October 2015.

Ms Letby, 33, is alleged to have injected air into the infant’s stomach via a feeding tube at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

She denies murdering seven babies and attempting to murder 10 others.

On Tuesday, Manchester Crown Court heard police interview summaries in relation to Child I and a number of other infants in the case.

Officers asked Ms Letby about her recollection of Child I’s collapses and subsequent death in October 2015.

Detectives asked Ms Letby how she coped with the death of Child I, the fifth baby death on the unit in as many months.

“It affects everybody on the unit because we all knew [Child I] quite well and we’d got to know the family,” she said.

“I wanted to go to [Child I’s] funeral. I was unfortunately working at the time so didn’t go.”

Ms Letby was also asked about a condolence card she sent to the family of Child I ahead of her funeral.

Card sent by Lucy Letby to dead baby's family

Image source, Cheshire Constabulary/Crown Prosecution Service

The card was titled “your loved one will be remembered with many smiles”.

Inside, Ms Letby wrote: “There are no words to make this time any easier.

“It was a real privilege to care for [Child I] and get to know you as a family – a family who always put [Child I] first and did everything possible for her.

“She will always be part of your lives and we will never forget her. Thinking of you today and always. Lots of love Lucy x.”

Ms Letby told police it was the first and only card she had sent to the family of a patient.

Asked if this was normal, she said: “No. Well, it’s not very often that we would get to know a family as well as we did with [Child I].”

The court heard Ms Letby had a photograph of the card on her phone, asked why she had taken a picture, she said she “often takes pictures of any cards that I have sent, even birthday cards – anything like that”.

Asked why she would want to remember such a card, she said: “It was upsetting losing [Child I] and I think it was nice to remember the kind words I’d shared with that family.”

Ms Letby denied harming Child I and when asked about the conclusions of medical experts – that the infant had air injected into her stomach – she explained there were “other reasons why babies can have air in the stomach”, such as when they swallow air.

Ms Letby was also asked about the collapse of a premature baby girl, Child K, in February 2016.

The prosecution said Ms Letby “interfered” with the infant’s breathing tube in an attempt to kill her.

During her police interview, it was put to her Dr Ravi Jayaram had walked into the nursery and saw Ms Letby standing near Child K, whose oxygen levels had fallen dangerously low.

Ms Letby told police she “didn’t recall” Child K’s collapse, adding: “I didn’t dislodge her tube.”

She said if she had noticed Child K’s saturation levels she “would have summoned help”.

Card sent by Lucy Letby to dead baby's family

Image source, Cheshire Constabulary/Crown Prosecution Service

The court also heard interview summaries in relation to twin boys, Child L and M, who the Crown said Ms Letby attempted to murder in April 2016.

The court has previously heard that Child M suffered an unexpected life-threatening collapse at about 16:00 on 9 April. His heart rate and breathing dropped dramatically and he required full resuscitation by medical staff.

During his resuscitation, medics logged the emergency drugs administered to Child M on a paper towel.

The towel was subsequently found at Ms Letby’s home address when it was searched by police in 2018.

Ms Letby, originally of Hereford, told police in her interview that she could not remember why she had taken it home and it was an “error”.

She said it had been “put to one side and then forgotten about” and denied keeping the towel to “remind” her of Child M’s collapse.

Police also seized Ms Letby’s diary, which contained an entry in April 2016 that said “LD [long day] twins”, while the following day had the words “LD twins resus” written, in reference to Child L and M.

Ms Letby said she had recorded this as it was a “significant event” and denied causing the twins any harm.

The trial continues.

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