Neonatal nurse Lucy Letby ‘revelled’ in her success at finally managing to kill a baby girl she had first targeted for murder three weeks earlier, the prosecutor in her trial said today.
She was so excited she interrupted the parents of (Baby) I as they bathed the dead infant, and later sent them a condolence card on the day of her funeral.
Nick Johnson KC, prosecuting, told the jury on the fourth day of his closing speech that Letby had made ‘repeated and determined efforts’ to kill Baby I.
At one point she had falsified nursing notes to make it look as though the infant had a particular problem, and also altered the records of another baby so it would appear she had not been present at Baby I’s eventual death.
Ten days before the murder she ‘gave herself’ away by claiming she could see the baby’s pale face in the darkened Nursery 2, even though her colleague, Ashleigh Hudson, who was closer, could not.
Neonatal nurse Lucy Letby ‘revelled’ in her success at finally managing to kill a baby girl she had first targeted for murder three weeks earlier, the prosecutor in her trial said today
Nurse Ashleigh Hudson’s recollection of the position of Baby I’s cot and the lighting in the nursery when she found her ‘pale and floppy’
When Baby I finally died on October 23, 2015, Letby’s behaviour had been both ‘bizarre’ and inappropriate’, with the infant’s grieving mother recalling her smiling as she entered the room and came ‘into their moment’.
‘She was excited because she had killed yet another child,’ said Mr Johnson. ‘She revelled in what she had done and enjoyed the anguish and distress she had caused.
‘Her voyeuristic tendencies drove her to look up her mum on the internet. She inflicted pain on Baby I on more than one occasion and ultimately succeeded in killing her.
‘Having killed her she wrote that condolence card and took a photograph of it. It was still on her phone when it was seized by police’.
Mr Johnson said Letby had no right to go in and see Baby I’s grieving parents because she had not been the infant’s designated nurse and had two other babies to look after.
The mother had recalled Letby’s return, telling the jury: ‘She was smiling and kept going on about how she’d given (Baby) I her first bath and how she’d loved it. I wished she would just stop talking.
‘Eventually I think she realised and stopped. It wasn’t something we wanted to hear right now’.
Mr Johnson alleged that Letby turned her attention to Baby I after failing to kill either Baby G or Baby H, both of them girls.
The nurse first attacked her, he said, on September 30 after taking advantage of the mother’s weekday routine of spending most of the day with Baby I before setting off to collect her other children from school.
‘From the moment she left Lucy Letby had the perfect opportunity to attack Baby I’.
A short time later the infant had such a large vomit that she had to be transferred to Nursery 1. However, she recovered rapidly and within hours was rooting for a feed.
Letby’s note about the incident read: ‘Mummy present when reviewed by doctors. Had left unit when (Baby) I lad large vomit and transferred to Nursery 1’.
Baby I is alleged to have been attacked for a second time around 3.20am on October 13, in what Mr Johnson described as the Seeing in the Dark’ event.
A note in which Lucy Letby (pictured) wrote ‘I am evil, I did this’ should be read ‘literally,’ a court heard
Lucy Letby, 33, who is accused of murdering premature babies, seen being cross examined in a court sketch last week
By then the infant, a long-term patient on the unit, was within a couple of weeks of being allowed to finally go home.
In the early hours her designated nurse, Ashleigh Hudson, briefly left Nursery 1 to collect some milk ready for her next feed. When she returned she sat at a desk and started preparing the milk.
‘The next thing she remembered was the appearance of Lucy Letby in the doorway and Lucy Letby pointing out that (Baby) I looked pale. Lucy Letby was about five or six feet from the cot at the time.
‘Nurse Hudson turned the light on, pulled back the canopy and immediately realised that (Baby) I was in a very poor condition. She was hypotonic and was grasping agonal breaths – dying breaths’.
The barrister said that in cross-examination Letby acknowledged her eyesight was no better than Nurse Hudson’s. When asked how she could have seen the baby’s condition from that distance, she replied: ‘ I had more experience, so I knew what I was looking for…’
She immediately corrected herself, replacing ‘for’ for the word ‘at’.
At the time Mr Johnson had responded with a sigh. ‘Ah. ‘I knew what I was looking for’. What did you mean by that?’
Looking distressed, Letby replied: ‘I didn’t mean it like that. I’m finding it hard to concentrate’.
She added: ‘I’m finding it hard to concentrate on all the dates at the moment’.
Today Mr Johnson told the jury: ‘Dates had nothing to do with what was being asked about here. You saw her give that evidence, you heard what she said.
‘Did she make an innocent mistake or did something else slip under the pressure of the witness box?
‘We say she knew (Baby) I was in extremis because she had caused the problem’.
As he came to the end of his address Mr Johnson read out a series of lists of babies who had similar experiences across a number of categories.
These included infants who had bleeds in their throats, those with unusual colouring, those who had screamed or cried uncharacteristically, and those who collapsed shortly after being visited by their parents.
The barrister then told the jury: ‘If anyone tries to tell you there are no similarities in this case, you’ve got a list now’.
None of the babies can be identified for legal reasons, but Mr Johnson named each of the alleged murder victims as he listed those who would all have gone home from the Countess of Chester Hospital had Letby ‘not sabotaged them’.
He then read out the names of the other 10 babies Letby is accused of trying to murder.
In his final words to the jury, he said: ‘That is our case, and you’ll let us know if it’s right’.
Letby’s barrister, Ben Myers KC, will begin his closing speech tomorrow.
Letby, originally from Hereford, denies murdering seven babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital and attempting to murder a further ten. Her trial at Manchester Crown Court continues.