Advertisement

We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Lucy Letby (34)
child k

Lucy Letby takes stand in retrial of attempted murder case involving baby girl

Letby was convicted last August by another jury of the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others.

LAST UPDATE | 1 hr ago

CONVICTED CHILD MURDERER Lucy Letby has told a British court she is “not the sort of person that kills babies” and she was “not guilty of what I was found guilty of”.

The former nurse, 34, is on trial at Manchester Crown Court accused of the attempted murder of a baby girl, known as Child K, while she was working a night shift at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit on 17 February 2016.

She was convicted last August by another jury of the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others at the hospital between June 2015 and June 2016, but a verdict on the allegation concerning Child K could not be reached and a retrial was ordered on that single count.

She is accused of deliberately dislodged the infant’s breathing tube and was “caught virtually red-handed” by consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram when he walked into the unit’s intensive care nursery room.

Letby was stood next to the newborn’s incubator “doing nothing” as blood oxygen levels dipped but no monitor alarms sounded, said Dr Jayaram.

Today, Letby, 34, wearing a black jacket and navy blue top, swore an oath on the Bible before she answered questions from the witness box, watched by a courtroom packed with press and members of the public.

Ben Myers KC, defending, asked Letby: “Do you accept you have ever intended to hurt any baby in your care?”

Letby replied: “No, I don’t.”

Myers went on: “Do you accept that you have ever tried to harm any baby in your care?”

“No,” she said.

Letby told the jury of six women and six men she did not recall any incident with Child K and Dr Jayaram walking into the room.

Cross-examining, Nick Johnson KC asked: “Why would you not displace a ET (endotracheal) tube?”

Letby said: “It would cause harm to a baby. They couldn’t breathe without that tube.”

Johnson said: “Do you agree that you are likely to kill that baby if you did that deliberately?”

“Yes,” said Letby.

Johnson continued: “Does it come to this, because you are saying you are not the sort of person that kills babies you would not do that?”

Letby said: “I know my actions and I know I didn’t displace that tube.”

Johnson said: “But you are just that sort of person. aren’t you?”

“No,” said Letby.

Johnson said: “You have killed seven babies in that unit, haven’t you?”

Letby said: “No, I have not.”

Johnson said: “And you tried to kill six others, one on two separate occasions, didn’t you?”

“No,” said Letby.

court-artist-drawing-by-elizabeth-cook-of-lucy-letby-giving-evidence-during-her-trial-at-manchester-crown-court-where-she-is-accused-of-attempting-to-murder-a-baby-girl-in-february-2016-when-she-work Court artist drawing of Lucy Letby giving evidence during her trial at Manchester Crown Court. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Letby said she was “not sure” why she made a Facebook search on her mobile phone for Child K’s surname at just before midnight on 20 April 2018 – 26 months and three days after Child K had left the neonatal unit.

Johnson said: “The truth is, of course, you habitually searched for the parents of children you have been convicted of murdering and attempted to murder?”

Letby said: “I looked up many parents on Facebook, yes.”

Johnson said: “Just an innocent coincidence is it?”

Letby said: “Well, I’m not guilty of what I have been found guilty of.

“I searched for a lot of parents and a lot of people frequently on Facebook.”

Johnson pointed out many of those searches were often late at night.

He asked Letby: “Do you have trouble sleeping?”

Letby replied: “I was on my phone at various points at night. I don’t know if I was working. I went on my phone day and night.

“I also searched for other parents as well.”

Johnson said: “What was your fascination with the parents of children who had died or had been seriously injured?”

Letby said: “It was not a fascination. I regularly looked at a lot of parents.”

Johnson went on: “Were you looking for grief?”

Letby replied: “I don’t understand the question.”

Johnson said: “Parents on their Facebook sites, you were hoping to see evidence of their grief.”

“No,” said Letby.

Johnson drew the attention of the defendant to the care on the previous night shift of a baby boy in which medical notes referred to an issue with his breathing tube and that a catheter had snapped from its hub.

Johnson asked: “Was that done by you?”

“No,” said Letby.

Johnson said: “Were you the last person to have contact with (the boy) before that was found?”

Letby said: “I don’t know.”

Child K was transferred to a specialist hospital later on 17 February 2016, because of her extreme prematurity. She died there three days later, although the prosecution does not allege Letby caused her death.

Letby, of Hereford, denies a single count of attempted murder.

A court order prohibits reporting of the identities of the surviving and dead children involved in the case.

Letby will continue to give evidence tomorrow.

Author
Press Association