Nurse felt 'undermined' by Lucy Letby who was ‘insistent’ triplet not be moved to intensive care

Lucy Letby Credit: SWNS

A colleague felt "undermined" by murder-accused nurse Lucy Letby after she insisted a triplet should not be moved to intensive care, a jury has heard.

Leby, 33, who denies killing seven babies and attempting to kill 10 others, is accused of murdering the newborn boy just hours after the exchange.

She is alleged to have fatally injected air into the circulation of the infant, Child O, during a day shift at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neo-natal unit.

Manchester Crown Court heard how Child O was stable and raised no concerns for doctors on the morning ward round on 23 June 2016.

Lucy Letby is accused of murdering seven babies and attempting to kill another 10. Credit: PA images

Letby was caring for the youngster in a high dependency unit, called nursery room two, along with one of his brothers, Child P, who she allegedly murdered the following day.

Giving evidence, nurse Melanie Taylor said that at one point she had looked into room two and had a “gut instinct” something had changed with Child O.

The shift leader said: “I can’t specifically remember what it was that I was not happy about but he didn’t look as well as when I started the shift.

“I can’t remember the reasoning behind it. Sometimes it can be just a gut instinct. Sometimes they (the baby) can present very slight things.

“I remember saying it out loud to Lucy.

“I asked whether she felt we should move him into nursery one. She said ‘no’. She felt it was OK and wanted to keep him in nursery two and wanted to keep the brothers together.

“I guess it’s a joint decision. Lucy was the one looking after him. She knew him and was with him all day.”

Countess of Chester Hospital. Credit: PA images

Ms Taylor went on: “With hindsight, I wish I had been a bit firmer. I remember being put out that she was quite insistent. I think because I felt she was undermining my decision.

“She said ‘no’. Quite plainly ‘no, I don’t feel like he should be moved’.

“I don’t think from me it was ‘he needs to be moved now’. It was more of a feeling than any hard evidence. I had a gut instinct he didn’t seem as well.”

Philip Astbury, prosecuting, asked: “What was the advantage of room one?"

She replied: “Just the ability to have more space if anything was to deteriorate. We have more equipment on hand. We have got the emergency trollies in there.

“The resources are closer to hand and easier to get to.”

She said her “gut instinct” came about “an hour or two” before the first collapse of Child O in the mid-afternoon.

Ms Taylor said she could not recall how she was alerted to the deterioration but that Letby was in room two when she attended.

Lucy Letby denies all the charges against her.

Child O stabilised before he was moved to intensive care room one where he collapsed again about an hour later but could not be resuscitated.

Ms Taylor told the court she was “surprised” at Child O’s deterioration.

Ben Myers KC, defending, asked the witness: “Do you recall Miss Letby explained she wanted to keep him (Child O) with his brother?”

“Yes,” Ms Taylor said.

Mr Myers said: “All other things being equal, keeping them together as far as you can is desirable, isn’t it?”

Ms Taylor repeated: “Yes.”

The trial continues.