Nurse Lucy Letby denies attacking baby to attract doctor's attention

Lucy Letby denies attacking a baby to attract a doctor's attention

The nurse accused of killing children in her care has denied attacking a baby boy to get the attention of a doctor who prosecutors have suggested she “had a crush on”.

Lucy Letby, 33, is alleged to have murdered the newborn triplet, Child O, on her first shift back at the Countess of Chester Hospital following a holiday in Ibiza with friends.

The defendant told jurors at Manchester Crown Court she was not in love with the doctor and they were just friends.

Both Letby, from Hereford, and the registrar - who cannot be identified for legal reasons - were working a day shift on 23 June 2016.

The court heard that during the morning, Letby texted the doctor: “Bit rubbish that you couldn’t stay on nnu (neonatal unit).

“You may get time for lunch though if on clinic.”

Prosecutor Nick Johnson KC asked Letby: “Were you disappointed he was not there?”

Letby said: “Yes, I enjoyed working with (the doctor).”

Mr Johnson said: “Were you missing him?”

Letby said: “No, this was my first day back at work.”

Mr Johnson said: “Did you want to get his attention?”

“No,” Letby said.

Mr Johnson asked: “Is that the reason you sabotaged (Child O)?”

“No,” Letby repeated.

Lucy Letby denies harming babies in her care Credit: PA

Child O’s designated nurse, Letby called for the doctor’s assistance at about 1.15pm after the infant vomited following a milk feed 45 minutes earlier.

Medical entries showed Letby signed for the feed but, giving her 13th day of evidence, the defendant told the court that the child was actually fed by a student nurse she was mentoring.

Mr Johnson said: “You deliberately overfed (Child O), didn’t you?”

Letby replied: “No I didn’t. I was not feeding this baby.”

Up to 90 minutes later, Letby called for help from the registrar who was working in a neighbouring nursery, the court heard.

The prosecutor asked her: “Were you trying to get his attention?”

Letby said: “Yes, I wanted him to be with (Child O).”

Mr Johnson said: “Personal attention as well?”

Letby said: “No, he was the registrar on the unit that day.”

Letby denied the prosecutor’s suggestion that she had “a crush” on the doctor.

The court was told that Letby had noted that Child O’s appearance was “mottled++” and his abdomen was “red and distended”.

Mr Johnson reminded the defendant that the unit’s head consultant Dr Stephen Brearey had recalled an “unusual rash” on the right side of Child O’s chest wall, which later disappeared.

The prosecutor asked her: “Is that what you saw as well?”

Letby said: “No.”

Mr Johnson told the court that Child O’s mother had noticed “changing” skin discolouration and “prominent veins”, while Child O’s father observed “something oozing through his veins”.

He asked Letby: “Do you agree with the descriptions?”

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

Mr Johnson said: “You saw a sort of blotchy, purply/red rash?”

“Yes,” Letby said.

Letby agreed that a liver injury sustained by Child O – discovered post-mortem – must have been inflicted during the shift.

She told the court: “I don’t know how that has happened.”

Mr Johnson said: “You injected (Child O’s) stomach with gas down the NGT (nasogastric tube), didn’t you?”

Letby said: “No I didn’t.”

Mr Johnson said: “You injected air into his circulation.”

Letby said: “No.”

Mr Johnson said: “And through some violent mechanism, you inflicted that liver injury on him.”

“No,” Letby said.

It is alleged Letby murdered seven babies and attempted to murder 10 others on various dates between June 2015 and June 2016.

Child O continued to decline throughout the afternoon and was pronounced dead at 5.47pm.

Mr Johnson accused Letby of then turning her attention to Child O’s brother Child P who was also in her care.

The prosecutor said: “You had already put your plan into motion by pumping (Child P) before you left, hadn’t you?”

“No,” Letby said.

Mr Johnson went on: “You overfed (Child P) some time between 6pm and handing him over at 8pm, didn’t you?”

Letby said: “No.”

The defendant allegedly murdered Child P on the following day shift of June 24 with more injections of air.

Letby, from Hereford, denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of 10 others between June 2015 and June 2016.