The trial of neonatal nurse, Lucy Letby, began on 9th October at Manchester Crown Court, where she is facing 22 charges, including the murder of 7 babies and attempted murder of a further 10. Letby, 32, denies all the charges against her.
Words by Ellie Sanders
The jury were told of how the collapses and deaths of children at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit were not “naturally-occurring tragedies”. Prosecutor Nick Johnson KC told of the struggle to find a cause for the “inexplicable collapses and deaths”, until consultants found one common occurrence, which was “the presence of one of the neonatal nurses and that nurse was Lucy Letby.”
Jurors heard of the numerous means allegedly used by the nurse to harm and kill the children, including the use of insulin poisoning and injecting air into the bloodstream. She is said to have told one parent “trust me, I’m a nurse” as she murdered her baby.
On Wednesday 12th October, the defence opened their case, describing Letby as a “dedicated nurse”. Ben Myers KC went on to tell the court that the prosecution’s case was a “theory of guilt based firmly on coincidence”, explaining how other premature babies had also collapsed when Letby was not on shift.
On day four of the trial, the court were shown handwritten notes found at Letby’s home, in which she allegedly admitted to being “evil” and stating “I did this”.
The first alleged victims of the nurse were twins born in June 2015, who appeared to suffer sudden collapses. The court heard of how on 9th June, following the killing of her first victim and before her next shift, she messaged a fellow nurse, telling her that “we all did everything we possibly could under very difficult and sad circumstances”. Hours later, the baby’s twin sister collapsed whilst Letby was on shift. Further accusations include four attempts to kill a premature baby girl. Following the child’s death, Letby went on to send a sympathy card to the parents.
This week has seen more details revealed regarding Letby’s first alleged killings of the twins, referred to as Child A and Child B in court proceedings. A registrar on shift when Child A died, Dr Sally Ogden, stated that she could not recall anything being “out of the ordinary” and there was “no immediate concern” surrounding Child A and B. Dr Ogden was shocked to discover Child A’s death, describing it as “completely out of the blue”.
More messages and social media activity from Letby around the time of the deaths have also been unveiled. Letby’s Facebook account showed an online search for the twins’ mother on the evening of June 10th. Two days later, she texted a colleague who had looked after Child A when he was born, stating: “It was awful. He died very suddenly and unexpectedly just after handover. Waiting for post-mortem results. Hopefully they can get to the bottom of it.” In September, Letby yet again searched for Child A and B’s mother on Facebook. She went on to ask a colleague for an update on the twins’ parents ten days later.
The trial of Lucy Letby continues.