For the young couple she had guided through the trauma of having a premature son, it seemed like the natural thing to do.
After all, neonatal nurse Lucy Letby had witnessed their baby’s difficult birth and had done all she could to help them through those first terrifying hours and days.
She had taken the time to explain why the little one needed to be put on a ventilator and had spent hours chatting with his parents late into the night, reassuring them and gaining their trust as they watched by the bedside. of their son.
So when the boy’s father suggested his wife ask “nice” Lucy to be their son’s godmother, it seemed like the perfect way to reward the kind and caring nurse who seemed to have “taken so much of brilliance” towards him.
Little did they know she was, at the time, in the midst of a killing spree that made her Britain’s most prolific child killer.
In hindsight, and following Letby’s sentencing this week, her mother, who asked not to be named to protect the identities of her two young children, said the thought “made her physically ill”.
A couple said they trusted Lucy Letby (pictured) so much they almost made her godmother to their baby.
This photo of the parents’ premature baby was taken by killer nurse Lucy Letby. They now believe she tried to harm their child
This photo was inside a Mother’s Day card sent by Lucy Letby which included a photo of the newborn.
The couple now suspect their boy was attacked by Letby, who singled him out as one of her favourites, even getting angry at the other nurses when she didn’t have custody of him. One day he was found with an unusual amount of blood in his diaper while Letby was tending to him. Doctors found no real cause.
Another time, when the killer was her designated nurse, he suddenly collapsed inexplicably as she was about to hand him over to the night staff. Luckily a doctor came to his rescue and a head nurse took over and he recovered quickly.
Letby also sent the little one’s mother a handmade Mother’s Day card with a Polaroid photo she took of their baby inside the incubator. Although he still needed 24-hour oxygen, the image showed their son without a mask or oxygen tube over his face. When the worried parents popped the question, Letby dismissed their fears, saying, “I just thought you’d like a picture of him without tubes. »
Letby’s murder trial accused her of tampering with breathing tubes and shoving medical equipment down tiny throats.
The boy’s father told the Mail: “We had a handmade card and we thought everyone in the room had one. But they didn’t, it was just us. Inside was a picture of my son without respiratory equipment. She said she took it out to clean or sterilize it. Now that everything is revealed, I should have asked myself more questions.
Eight months ago the couple had another premature baby boy who also needed respiratory support. They now know that Letby should never have deprived their firstborn of oxygen.
Later, when the infant was discharged, Letby asked to be friends with his mother on Facebook and commented on the posts when he ended up in hospital, asking if he “needed help breathing ? “. Her mother added, “Now it gives me chills.”
The 32-year-old, a nursing student, told the Mail she had had a “horrible” pregnancy. She conceived twins, but lost one of the babies at eight weeks and started suffering from pre-eclampsia four weeks later.
Her son was born, weighing just 3lbs 2oz, nine weeks earlier by emergency Caesarean section at the Countess Hospital in Chester in February 2016, nine months after the Letby killings began. She was at birth – her third night shift in a series of four.
The night before, she allegedly attempted to murder a little girl by tampering with her breathing tube. The jury was unable to rule on his case.
The couple’s boy was immediately placed in the intensive care nursery on a ventilator. Her mother was in very poor condition and was in a high dependency ward. She couldn’t visit him for 48 hours.
But her husband, a 33-year-old engineer, immediately went to see their newborn baby. Letby took care of him and, the following days, he was always available.
“I have to be honest, she was nice,” the father said. “She didn’t seem to do enough for us.”
The mum added: “It seemed like every shift Lucy was on she wanted my son, she named him her favourite, she said it over and over.
“She was there day and night, we had long conversations with her, especially at night when it was quiet. She talked about her house, she talked a lot about her parents, she really thought about them, her cats, going out with other nurses to socialize… I came to think of her as a friend.
The couple couldn’t hold their son until he was seven days old. Letby was the nurse who took him out of his incubator and gave him to them for the first time. Her photo of the happy moment is displayed in the couple’s living room.
In a video taken during his early days, Letby can also be heard cooing over their son. Shortly after, Letby told them that he was found with a large amount of blood in his diaper. The boy’s mother said: “They did some tests and couldn’t find the reason for the blood.
Letby was sentenced to life for the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of six others.
Letby at the Countess of Chester Hospital in 2012 – three years before he embarked on a sadistic wave of infanticide
The Countess of Chester Hospital, where Lucy Letby worked in the neonatal unit and killed seven babies. She also attempted to murder six others
Judge Goss sentenced Letby to life, saying she acted “completely contrary to normal human instincts to nurture and care for babies”.
On another occasion, Letby was furious when she arrived at work and another nurse – who testified at the trial – had been assigned to their son, they said. “When we arrived, one of the nurses who was looking after him that night came up to us and said, ‘God, I can’t believe how annoyed Lucy is that she doesn’t have your son tonight”.
“She said Lucy asked her four or five times if she would agree to switch but luckily this nurse refused. At the time, I thought it was lovely that people were fighting for him. Looking back, we were very lucky she didn’t get it that night. The little one’s father added, “He always seemed to have big tantrums when she was taking care of him,” he added. “Each time (he was getting better), she was that miracle worker who kept saving him.”
By the end of March 2016, after about five weeks in the unit, their son was doing well enough to be released. Shortly after, Letby asked to befriend the mother on Facebook.
When she posted a message explaining that her son had to be admitted to a specialized hospital following an infection, Letby commented and sent messages of support. The boy’s father thought Letby had been so nice to them that he asked his wife if they should make her their son’s godmother.
Police searches revealed a trove of sinister memorabilia Letby hid from his victims – as well as a post-it note that read: ‘I’m mean, I did this’.
“When he was in the hospital, she couldn’t do enough for us,” he said. “She stayed in touch, I thought she was really interested in her life, so I thought, why not include her in her life?”
In the end, her mother decided that a family member would be more suitable.
However, neither suspected Letby of wrongdoing and when her face appeared on the news at the time of her arrest in July 2018, the mother said she was stunned. When asked what she thought of Letby, the mother replied, “It makes me really sick. She was so manipulative with us, so sweet, kind and caring. I have mixed emotions. It would have been easier to really, really hate her if she hadn’t been like that.
Like so many parents of babies involved in the case, the couple are left with serious trust issues and feel overprotective of their children.
She said she had been in contact with the police over the past few days and was reassured that the officers were continuing to review their case. Her husband said: “I’m hoping for clarification, just a definitive answer. Did she do something (to my son) or not?