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Home Breaking A nurse on a neonatal unit attempted to kill a premature baby girl four times before succeeding – and then sent the grieving parents a sympathy card, a court heard

A nurse on a neonatal unit attempted to kill a premature baby girl four times before succeeding – and then sent the grieving parents a sympathy card, a court heard

The baby was one of seven that Lucy Letby is accused of killing while working in the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital. The 32-year-old is also accused of attempting to murder ten other babies between June 2015 and 2016. She denies all of the charges levelled against her. The death of the baby girl, known as child I, was described as a “extreme example even by the standards of this overall case” at Manchester Crown Court. Continuing the case’s opening, prosecutor Nick Johnson KC told jurors, “This is a case where we allege Lucy Letby attempted to kill her four times.” (Child I) was tenacious, but on the fourth attempt, Lucy Letby succeeded and killed her.” Letby is accused of deliberately injecting large amounts of air into Child I’s stomach via a nasogastric tube, one of several methods she allegedly used to harm children in her care. The first incident was said to have occurred on September 30, 2015, just 30 minutes after Letby was said to have fed Child I, days after she attempted to murder another baby. On the 13th of October, a night shift colleague recalled Letby standing in the doorway of a darkened room in the neonatal unit when the defendant remarked that Child I looked pale in her cot. When the other nurse entered, she noticed that Child I “appeared to be on the verge of death and was not breathing.” Mr Johnson stated that the baby recovered, but that Letby “ironically” became Child I’s designated nurse. According to the court, another collapse occurred in the early hours of October 23, but the baby was successfully resuscitated and recovered to the point where she was showing signs of hunger. Less than an hour later, the infant’s monitor alarm went off, and a colleague rushed over to assist, discovering Letby standing beside the incubator. Mr Johnson stated that Letby’s colleague wanted to intervene because Child I was “distressed,” but Letby stated that “they would be able to sort it out.” Mr Johnson stated that the mother of Child I was permitted to bathe her “recently deceased” daughter. Lucy Letby came into the room and,” he said, “was smiling and kept going on about how she was present at (Child I’s) first bath and how much (Child I) had loved it.” Mr Johnson stated that after reviewing Child I’s case, an expert paediatrician concluded that the baby’s deteriorations were consistent with the deliberate administration of a large amount of air into her stomach via a nasogastric tube. The medic also suspected that on the final occasion, the infant had been injected with air into her bloodstream, causing her to “scream” before collapsing. The defendant was later questioned by police about a sympathy card she had sent to Child I’s parents. “She said for a nurse to send a card was not normal and it was the only time she had done it but it was not often the nurses got to know a family as well,” Mr Johnson said. She couldn’t remember searching for Child I’s parents on Facebook in the early hours of October 5 – a day off – or searching for the parents of three other babies involved in the case. “(Child I) was born very early and very small,” Mr Johnson explained. But she made it through the first two months of her life and was doing well by the time Lucy Letby had her. What happened to (Child I) followed the pattern of what had happened to others before and what would happen to others in the future. “It was persistent, calculated, and cold-blooded.” A court order forbids reporting the identities of surviving and deceased children allegedly assaulted by Letby, as well as identifying parents or witnesses associated with the children. Letby, who is originally from Hereford, denies all charges. The trial is still ongoing.

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