Neonatal nurse Lucy Letby denies sabotaging a day-old baby to get the attention of a male official she allegedly flirted with, a jury heard today.
She and the doctor exchanged Facebook messages the day Baby O – one of a pair of naturally conceived triplets – died after three separate collapses at Countess of Chester Hospital.
Letby, from Hereford, denies the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of ten others in the neonatal ward at Countess of Chester Hospital, Chester, between June 2015 and June 2016.
The court heard today that Letby was on holiday to Ibiza with a group that included her best friend on the unit, and the day in question – June 23, 2016 – was her first day on the job. The day before she had texted a colleague to say she would be ‘back with a bang lol’.
Neonatal nurse Lucy Letby denies sabotaging a day-old baby boy to get the attention of a male official she allegedly flirted with, a jury heard today
Lucy Letby and the doctor exchanged Facebook messages the day Baby O — one of a pair of naturally conceived triplets — died after three separate collapses at Countess of Chester Hospital, the court heard. Letby is pictured in a court sketch on May 2 giving evidence in the dock at Manchester Crown Court
Lucy Letby of Hereford denies the murder of seven babies and attempted murder of ten others in the neonatal ward of Countess of Chester Hospital, Chester, between June 2015 and June 2016
She sent her first message at 9:32 a.m. to the doctor, who cannot be named for legal reasons, simply saying “Boo.”
As the day progressed, their conversation continued, with him telling her that he was in the pediatric ward, but would be returning to the neonatal ward (NNU) in the afternoon.
At one point, he offers to bring her some lunch, joking that she’s so distracted from her time in Ibiza that she left a transfer sheet in the milk freezer.
Nick Johnson KC, prosecutor, asked Letby, “Are you disappointed he wasn’t there?”
“Yes,” she replied. ‘I enjoyed working with you [the doctor]Yes’.
Mr. Johnson asked, “Did you want to get his attention?”
The nurse replied, “No.”
The lawyer insisted again, “Is that why you sabotaged? [Baby] O?’
“No,” said the defendant.
In the Facebook conversation, Letby goes on to tell the doctor that she has a student nurse “glued to her” while working on the ward.
She then complains that it’s “a bit rubbish that you couldn’t stay on the NNU.”
Mr. Johnson asked, “Did you miss him?”
Letby replied, “No, this was my first day on the job.”
Letby agreed that Baby O had been fine until that lunch.
Letby sent her first message at 9:32 am to the doctor, who cannot be named for legal reasons, simply by saying “Boo”. As the day wore on, their conversation continued, with him telling her that he was in the pediatric ward, but would return to the neonatal ward in the afternoon. Pictured is the corridor in the neonatal ward of the Countess of Chester Hospital
In the Facebook conversation, Letby goes on to tell the doctor that she has a student nurse “glued to her” while working on the ward. She then complains that it’s “a bit rubbish that you couldn’t stay on the NNU.” Letby is pictured in a court sketch on May 18
The nurse who cared for the child at night reported that there was ‘nothing wrong with his presentation’, while a colleague thought he would ‘sail’ through the ward.
Mr Johnson highlighted a WhatsApp that Letby had sent to her friend Jennifer Jones-Key, a nursing assistant on the ward shortly after 9pm on June 22, shortly after 9pm: ‘Yep, probably back with a bang lol’.
The lawyer then explained it to the defendant: “Within 72 hours of that message, two of the triplets were dead and [Baby Q] collapsed, and it all happened while you were there?’
“Yes,” she replied.
Letby denied lying to the same doctor about an aspirate she took from the baby shortly before he examined him.
She also denied suggestions that she called him back shortly after a second collapse at 2:40 pm to seek his “personal attention.”
‘No, (the doctor) was the registrar of the unit that day’.
Letby’s interaction with the male registrar came under further scrutiny when Mr. Johnson cross-examined her about the death of Baby O’s fellow triplets, Baby P.
The lawyer suggested that she had also tried to get the doctor’s attention in this case.
He asked, “Did you enjoy being with (the doctor) in these crisis situations? Did it give you something to talk about and send a message, something in common that you could share?’
‘No’, said Letby, ‘(the doctor) and I were friends’.
Mr. Johnson reminded her of the “totally inappropriate” comment she allegedly made at the height of efforts to save Baby P during his latest collapse: “He’s not going to get out of here alive, is he?”
“That text was a sign of doom, wasn’t it?” he asked. “Did you enjoy making predictions if you knew what would happen?”
When Letby said no, he continued, “You got very excited in the aftermath of P’s death, didn’t you?” Two babies were killed within 24 hours of each other, and you’re behaving in a totally inappropriate way with (the female doctor), just like you did with (the mothers of Baby I and Baby C?”
“No, I didn’t,” Letby said.
Mr. Johnson told her that when Baby P died “your omen of doom had been fulfilled, had it not?
“No,” said Letby.
The lawyer insisted… “By your hand.”
Letby texted her friend to say she’d be ‘back with a bang lol’ after a break in Ibiza
Earlier, Letby denied lying to her best friend – the nurse she went to Ibiza with – and sending her a WhatsApp that helped set up “a false story” about Baby P’s collapse.
The message suggested that the child’s abdomen was ‘bloated’ and that he could have sepsis. Another made a connection to his fellow triplets’ condition, with Letby telling her boyfriend, “Worry if identical.”
Letby denied attempting to kill Baby Q by pumping a clear liquid into his body “because milk wasn’t an option at the time.” She had been interrupted by a fellow nurse, Mary Griffith, Mr. Johnson said, and then tried to pin the possible blame on both Nurse Griffith and another nurse.
The district attorney told her, “You were worried about it, weren’t you, because the net was getting closer, weren’t you, Lucy Letby?”
She replied: ‘No, I was concerned that I would be held accountable for something I had not done… I wanted to make it clear that I had not been negligent in leaving the nursery and leaving Q unattended’.
Mr Johnson said: ‘However, the truth is that you pumped him with liquid and air and you tried to kill him’.
“No, that’s not right,” Letby said.
Letby, 33, originally from Hereford, denies killing seven babies on the unit and attempted to kill a further ten. Her trial at Manchester Crown Court continues.
The process continues.