Lucy Letby caught 'virtually red-handed' trying to murder baby girl, jury told

ITV Granada Reports correspondent Emma Sweeney reports from Manchester Crown Court.

A jury has heard how nurse Lucy Letby was "caught virtually red-handed" by a doctor as she displaced the breathing tube of a baby girl.

Multiple murderer Letby, 34, is alleged to have attempted to murder the infant in the neo-natal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital in February 2016.

Jurors at Manchester Crown Court were told the defendant had been convicted of the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six more after a trial at the same court in 2023.

She is now facing a re-trial on one charge which left the previous jury unable to decide a verdict - of the attempted murder of a premature baby girl, named in court as Child K.

Opening the case, prosecutor Nick Johnson KC told the jury of six men and six women: "Putting it in a nutshell, we are saying that her status as a multiple murderer and attempted murderer is an important piece of the evidence that you can, if you wish, take into account when you are considering whether we have made you sure that she attempted to murder (Child K)."

Child K was born "extremely prematurely" in the early hours of February 17 2016 after medics decided it was too risky to move her mother to a specialist hospital while in labour.

The girl was taken to nursery one – the unit’s intensive care room – while Letby was on duty caring for two babies in nursery two, the court heard.

At 3.30am, Child K’s designated nurse left the unit to see the youngster’s mother in the delivery suite, the court heard, and was "not gone long".

Mr Johnson said that Letby was alone in nursery one when senior consultant Dr Ravi Jayaram walked in and witnessed the infant’s collapse.

Dr Ravi Jarayam is alleged to have caught Lucy Letby "red-handed" Credit: ITV Granada

He said: "The designated nurse had left (Child K) connected to a ventilator that was breathing for her, and (Child K) was connected to another machine that was checking her heart rate and saturations.

"If either the heart rate or the oxygen saturations in the blood fall below a pre-determined level then alarms will sound, and if there was an issue, those alarms would have sounded but they did not because somebody had disabled them.

"So when Dr Jayaram walked into the nursery, he saw Lucy Letby was standing over (Child K) and her blood oxygen levels were falling but the alarm was not sounding. Not only that, but Lucy Letby was doing nothing."

Mr Johnson said that in those circumstances the "only reasonable thing" for a nurse to have done was either call for help and/or to use a facemask device to breathe for the child.

It is alleged Letby targeted babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital Credit: ITV Granada

He went on: "The reason (Child K) was desaturating was because that ET (endotracheal) tube had been displaced and we suggest that the fact Lucy Letby was doing nothing and the fact the alarms were not sounding is evidence from which you can conclude that it was Lucy Letby, the convicted murderer, who had displaced the tube.

"We say Lucy Letby had been caught virtually red-handed by Dr Jayaram."

Letby, of Hereford, watched on from the dock as the opening statement was delivered.

She denies one count of attempted murder.