Nurse Lucy Letby denies 'rooting in bin' for towel used in baby resuscitation

A nurse was "texting non-stop" about a doctor she had a crush on just hours before allegedly trying to murder a baby boy, a court has heard.

Lucy Letby, 33, says she did not do anything to harm the baby, known as baby N, instead saying colleagues did not know how to care for those who had the blood condition haemophilia.

She also denied she "hung around" after her nursing shift to "root in a bin" for a paper towel used in the resuscitation of another baby she allegedly attacked, child M.

The piece of paper was found in a shopping bag under Letby’s bed more than two years later when police arrested her at her then home in Chester.

Jurors at Manchester Crown Court have been told the paper towel acted as a live note of drugs given to the baby boy as medics battled for half an hour to save him.

The infant collapsed on the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital on the afternoon of 8 April 2016.

It is alleged Letby from Hereford, tried to murder him when she injected him with air.

She denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of 10 others between June 2015 and June 2016.

Lucy Letby is accused of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder 10 more Credit: PA

Nearly four hours after Child M was revived, the child’s doctor “meticulously” recorded the process in his notes which included the administering of six doses of adrenaline.

Prosecutor Nick Johnson KC suggested to Letby: “You hung around to get your hands on it before you left?”

Letby said: “I stayed late to do the work that still needed doing, I was busy with other babies on the unit.”

Mr Johnson said: “You were hanging around to get your hands on the paper towel?”

“No,” said Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “To go rooting in the bin for the paper put there by your colleague.”

Letby said: “No, I have never rooted in a bin.”

The prosecutor said: “Because you sabotaged (Child M) by injecting him with air?”

Letby said: “No I didn’t.”

A blood gas printout from Child M, along with several hundred shift handover sheets – some containing names of children she allegedly targeted – were also found in police searches.

Letby has told the court the documents would innocently “come home” in her uniform pocket at the end of her shifts and that she would “collect paper”.

She has denied they were “important” to her, unlike household bills and bank statements that she would shred.

Mr Johnson reminded Letby of the evidence of consultant Dr Ravi Jayaram who said he noticed “patches of very bright pink” on Child M’s body at the start of the resuscitation.

They were said to have “flittered around”, “appeared and then disappeared” before they vanished when Child M recovered.

Mr Johnson asked Letby: “Would you agree with his description?”

The defendant replied: “I didn’t see anything like that.”

Lucy Letby denies harming babies in her care Credit: PA

Letby is also accused of attempting to murder another baby boy, Child N, two months later.

The prosecutor accused her of “doing something to destabilise” the infant at the end of a day shift on 14 June.

A nursing colleague later noted Child N was “very unsettled early part of night”.

Mr Johnson said: “Are you saying this is a coincidence that this happened just after you went off shift?”

“Yes,” said Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “The reason you had done something to him … was to create the impression that there was a progressing decline that you could take advantage of the next day.”

Letby said: “No, that’s not what happened.”

The court has heard Child N’s incubator alarm sounded and he deteriorated in Letby’s presence within three minutes of her arriving at the unit on the morning of June 15.

Mr Johnson said: “You had set him up to fail at the end of the previous shift and you were making a beeline for him to make it look as if he had got a problem from the night shift.”

“No,” said Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “It happened within a minute or two minutes of you arriving in the room?”

Letby said: “Yes.”

Mr Johnson said: “Just bad luck, is it?”

“Yes,” repeated Letby.

Court sketch of Lucy Letby, the murder-accused nurse on trial at Manchester Crown Court. Credit: PA Images

Earlier Mr Johnson went through a WhatsApp message exchange between Letby and a friend who had teased her for being “flirty” with a doctor colleague, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Mr Johnson said: “She knew you were sweet on (the doctor), didn’t she?”

Letby said: “What do you mean, sweet?”

Mr Johnson said: “That you had a crush on him.”

“No,” said Letby.

“There was nothing between me and (the doctor).”

Mr Johnson told the court that Letby told her friend she had received a “strange message” from the doctor.

Her colleague said: “Did you? Saying what? Go Commando (laughing face emoji).”

Letby replied with four laughing face emojis.

Mr Johnson asked the defendant: “What did you understand the message to mean?”

Letby said: “I don’t know, I can’t say.”

Mr Johnson said: “A reference to the Royal Marines?”

Letby said: “I don’t know.”

Mr Johnson said: “You understood it, you found it highly amusing. Do yourself justice, what do you understand ‘go commando’ to mean?”

“I don’t know,” said Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “Do you think it’s an Army reference, being from Hereford?”

Letby repeated: “I don’t know.”

Mr Johnson reminded Letby that earlier in the trial she had “tried to get out the back of the dock” when the doctor first came to the witness box.

Letby said: “Yes, because I felt unwell.”

Mr Johnson said: “No, it’s because you didn’t like hearing your boyfriend giving evidence, did you?”

A blushing Letby said: “That’s unfair.”

The trial continues on Thursday.