Published by BBC NEWS - 20th April 2023
  • Published
Lucy LetbyImage source, SWNS

Nurse Lucy Letby told police she did not question a spike in baby deaths on her neonatal ward and it did not need “to be looked into”, a court has heard.

Ms Letby has denied murdering seven babies and attempting to murder 10 others at the Countess of Chester Hospital in 2015 and 2016.

Manchester Crown Court heard she told police the sudden rise was “a shock”.

Officers also asked her if she thought her presence at the incidents was “bad luck”, to which she replied: “Yes.”

The court heard police interview summaries in relation to a number of infants in the case.

In them, officers asked Ms Letby what she was thinking in June 2015 after a “spike” in baby collapses.

“That it was a shock,” Ms Letby said.

Asked how she coped with the sudden rise in fatal and near-fatal incidents, she said: “You just have to find a way to deal with it and carry on.”

She told police she did not question why the spike had happened as she “didn’t feel there was anything that needed to be looked into, it was just a shock for everybody”.

‘I don’t remember’

The court heard earlier that Ms Letby was seen standing at the cot side of a baby boy who collapsed six minutes after she had a “frustrating” text conversation with a colleague.

The baby, known as Child C, is alleged to have been the second baby murdered by Ms Letby at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit.

The jury has previously heard that on the night Child C collapsed, in June 2015, Ms Letby was the designated nurse for another baby in nursery three.

Jurors have heard Sophie Ellis, the nurse caring for Child C, went briefly to the nurses’ station and whilst there she heard Child C’s monitor sound an alarm.

When she re-entered nursery one, Ms Letby was already standing next to the cot and told her: “He’s just dropped his heart rate and saturations.”

Ms Letby was asked by police why she was in nursery one, despite having another child to care for in nursery three.

She told officers: “I don’t remember specifically when or why I entered the room.”

The Countess of Chester Hospital sign

Image source, PA Media

Ms Letby said she could have entered nursery one to carry out “checks” on equipment or said she may have heard Child C’s alarm sounding.

She agreed with detectives that she was “frustrated” at not being asked to work in nursery one that evening.

The court later heard that six minutes prior to Child C’s alarm sounding, Ms Letby was texting an off-duty colleague to say she had wanted to be in nursery one because it would be cathartic for her and would help her to see a living baby in the space previously occupied by Child A, who died the previous week.

Ms Letby agreed with the interviewing officer she was “frustrated” and “upset” by the text conversation, as she was not receiving the emotionally supportive messages she expected.

Ms Letby was asked, in her police interview, “did you cause (Child C) to collapse six minutes after that conversation?”

She responded “no” and denied causing the infant any harm.

Summaries of interviews in relation to Ms Letby’s first alleged victims, twins Child A and B, were also read to the court.

She told officers she could not explain Child A’s death or Child B’s near fatal collapse.

When it was put to her that medical experts had concluded the likely cause was an injection of air into their bloodstreams, she said: “I didn’t do anything deliberately to harm” both Child A and B.

The trial continues.

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