Nurses messaged Lucy Letby about the ‘strange’ deaths of three infants she allegedly murdered before telling her: ‘You don’t run well’.
The 32-year-old neonatal nurse is accused of murdering seven newborns and attempting to kill a further ten during an alleged killing spree between June 2015 and June 2016 while working in a neonatal unit.
Two of the infants, twins Baby A and Baby B, were born within a minute of each other at the Countess of Chester Hospital, Cheshire, on 7 June 2015.
Letby is said to have murdered Baby A by injecting air into his bloodstream on June 8. The nurse is also accused of trying to kill her twin sister by the same method during the following night shift.
The court heard today an analysis of Letby’s internet use showed she carried out repeated Facebook searches for Baby A’s mother just hours after the infant’s ‘sudden and unexpected’ collapse.
At the same time, she was also comforted by colleagues, with Letby telling a nurse: ‘It was terrible. He died very suddenly and unexpectedly just after the handover. Not sure why. It has gone to the coroner. They ask for a clotting problem. Very sad.’
Referring to the end of his own shift earlier that day, the colleague replied: ‘Oh God, he was doing really well when I left.’
Letby then told her: ‘Just collapsed very suddenly. Terrible. He had a really good day on Monday, so I took over on Monday night’.
The colleague expressed sympathy that Letby was on duty at the time, adding: ‘I’m sorry it happened when you were looking after him. You are not running well at the moment.’
Lucy Letby (pictured) carried out repeated Facebook searches of Baby A’s mother less than two hours after the infant’s ‘sudden and unexpected’ collapse
She is said to have murdered Baby A, twin brother of Baby B, by injecting air into his bloodstream
A court sketch of Lucy Letby at Manchester Crown Court on Monday, where she is charged with the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of a further ten
Full charge against Lucy Letby
Lucy Letby is charged as follows:
count 1 – Accused of murdering Baby A on June 8, 2015
Count 2 – Accused of attempted murder of Baby B between 8 June 2015 and 11 June 2015
count 3 – Charged with murdering Baby C on 14 June 2015
count 4 – Charged with murdering Baby D on June 22, 2015
count 5 – Charged with murdering Baby E on August 4, 2015
count 6 – Charged with attempted murder of Baby F on 5 August 2015
count 7 – Charged with the attempted murder of Baby G on September 7, 2015
count 8 – Charged with the attempted murder of Baby G on September 21, 2015
count 9 – Charged with the attempted murder of Baby G on September 21, 2015
count 10 – Charged with attempted murder of Baby H on 26 September 2015
count 11 – Charged with the attempted murder of Baby H on September 27, 2015
count 12 – Accused of murdering Baby I on October 23, 2015
count 13 – Charged with the attempted murder of Baby J on November 27, 2015
count 14 – Charged with attempted murder of Baby K on 17 February 2015
count 15 – Charged with attempted murder of Baby L on 9 April 2016
count 16 – Charged with attempted murder of Baby M on 9 April 2016
count 17 – Charged with attempted murder of Baby N on 3 June 2016
count 18 – Charged with attempted murder of Baby N on 15 June 2016
count 19 – Charged with attempted murder of Baby N on 15 June 2016
count 20 – Charged with murdering Baby O on June 23, 2016
count 21 – Accused of murdering Baby P on June 24, 2016
count 22 – Charged with the attempted murder of Baby Q on June 25, 2016
Letby replied: ‘I wasn’t supposed to join either. But unfortunately these things happen.’
The nurse also said the parents of Baby A and Baby B had been ‘beside themselves’ over worries they would also lose their infant daughter.
By June 30, the court heard how nurses at the hospital began discussing the ‘strangeness’ of Baby A’s death, along with the deaths of two other infants in the same month – Baby C on June 6 and Baby D on June 22.
A nurse said in a message to Letby: ‘There is something strange about that night and the others leave suddenly. Strange that we lost three and under different circumstances’.
Letby replied: ‘I don’t know…Were they that different?’
The colleague then referred to the medical issues with Baby C and Baby D, adding: ‘It’s (Baby A) I can’t get my head around’.
The court was also shown text messages from colleagues who comforted Letby after Baby A’s death, with one telling her: ‘Luckily it doesn’t happen that often here, not that it’s any comfort at all. If you want to chat or something you know where I am xxxx.’
Letby then sent a message ahead of the start of her next scheduled shift on June 9, expressing fear of caring for the dead baby’s surviving twin – Baby B.
She answered a nurse who asked: ‘Hello Lucy. Hope you are OK?’
Letby replied: ‘I think we all did everything we possibly could in very difficult and sad circumstances. Haven’t had much sleep. I don’t really want to see parents, but it has to be done.
‘ I said to [another nurse] which I cannot fit [Child B] because I just don’t know how I want to feel about seeing parents.
‘Dad was on the floor crying and saying ‘please don’t take our baby away’ when we took him to the mortuary. It’s just heartbreaking.
‘It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Hopefully have a more positive one tonight.’
The colleague responded by saying she would prefer Letby look after the infant so her parents ‘don’t have a whole new face’.
At 6.38pm the day after Baby A’s death, Letby was praised by the same nurse for the way she had handled the incident.
The nurse told her: ‘You did great. I’m so proud of you’.
She added: ‘Hope that doesn’t sound condescending…You did amazing.’
Letby replied: ‘It’s not condescending at all. Thank you for saying that and thank you for supporting me so well…
‘I think we all did everything we possibly could in very difficult and sad circumstances.’
Letby then expressed a reluctance to see Baby A’s parents, telling the colleague: ‘Dad was on the floor crying ‘Please don’t take our baby away’ when I took him to the mortuary.’
Her more senior colleague replied: ‘I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been.’
Letby tells her: ‘It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Hopefully we will get a more positive one [shift] tonight. I hope you’re ok, you were brilliant.’
At 8pm, just over an hour later, Letby texted her colleague again to let her know how difficult it had been to get to the hospital for her shift and see Baby A’s parents.
Her colleague reassured her, saying: ‘Remember, you are not alone.’
Later that evening, the colleague added: ‘We have a good team. I just wish I could have given you a night off, but you’re all needed.’
Letby responded with a reference to her cover-up for a colleague when she was on duty in the ward at the time of Baby A’s death, writing: ‘This is the last time I’m doing you a shift shift! Ha ha!’
Her colleague replied: ‘Yes, I thought so. But I’m sure the girls were glad you were there’.
The dozens of messages shown to the jury today also included texts about Letby’s work on the unit, along with others about the nurses’ social lives away from the neonatal unit.
In a message referencing Baby A’s death, Letby said: ‘We all need answers.’
She later told a colleague that she had seen An Hour To Save Your Life, a television documentary about life in a neonatal unit.
The woman said she did not watch such programs and explained: ‘get enough work’.
But Letby explained his fascination: ‘I just think it’s interesting to see how our work is portrayed to the public.’
At 23.09, the same colleague told Letby that the parents of Baby A had taken a memory box about their son.
‘Oh good’, said Letby, ‘hoped they would find comfort’.
Twenty minutes later, at 11:31 p.m., she was looking for the dead baby’s mother on Facebook.
Susan and John Letby arrive at Manchester Crown Court on Friday. They have supported their daughter throughout the trial
The court previously heard how Baby A’s mother was heard screaming: ‘Please don’t let my baby die. Please don’t let my baby die when they tried to revive him.
The twins’ father, meanwhile, was in shock and frozen ‘like a statue’, the court heard.
Their mother rested when she and her husband were alerted to a problem with their second born son.
In a statement read to the jury at Manchester Crown Court, the mother recalled she was watching a film when a male member of staff rushed in. “You must come quickly,” he said.
The couple rushed into the neonatal unit to see a line of doctors and nurses desperately trying to save her son’s life.
She said: ‘I remember seeing what I can only describe as hundreds of people around his cot. A nurse asked if I was religious and would I like her to say a prayer’.
A consultant in the department, Dr. Rav Jayaram, came up to the couple to explain that even if he could bring Baby A back, he would be severely brain damaged.
‘He said they needed me to give my permission to stop CPR. I was so upset that I couldn’t bring myself to say stop. It was (my husband) who said “You must…You are cruel…He is no more”.
The mother added: ‘All I could bring myself to do was nod’. She continued: ‘One of the things that upsets me the most is that I never had the opportunity to hold my son while he was alive.’
Baby A remained in an incubator known as a ‘warm cot’ for the next two hours as arrangements were made to take him to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, for a post mortem.
Letby denies any wrongdoing. The trial continues.