Lucy Letby denies ‘getting a thrill’ from alleged baby murders
Lucy Letby has denied “getting a thrill” from the “grief and despair” of parents whose babies she allegedly murdered.
The nurse was being questioned about the alleged murder of a baby girl, Child I, who she is accused of fatally injecting with air in October 2015.
Prosecutor Nick Johnson KC reminded jurors that the newborn’s mother had said she recalled Letby, 33, interrupting her as she bathed Child I moments after her death.
The parent had said she remembered Letby walking into the room “smiling and going on about how she was present at [Child I’s] first bath and how much [Child I] had loved it”.
Giving evidence for a 10th day at Manchester crown court, Letby said she was “trying, in that awful situation, to have some positive memories”.
She added: “It wasn’t meant with any malice. We still talk to babies, we still treat them as if they were alive. It wasn’t joking. It wasn’t said with any malice. I was just trying to reflect on a happy memory.”
Johnson suggested to Letby that she was “getting a thrill out of what you were watching, the grief and despair, in that room”.
The nurse, seated between two female prison officers, replied: “Absolutely not, no.”
Letby is accused of trying four times to murder Child I, a two-and-a-half-month-old girl, before eventually succeeding. She was the nurse’s ninth alleged victim.
Letby, originally from Hereford, denies murdering seven babies and attempting to kill 10 others at the Countess of Chester hospital between June 2015 and June 2016.
Child I was born 10 weeks premature, weighing just 0.9kg (2lb), but was stable and did not need specialised care before she unexpectedly died in the early hours of 23 October 2015, the jury was told.
Letby was asked about the evidence from another nurse, Ashleigh Hudson, in the hours leading up to her death.
Hudson, who was Child I’s designated nurse, recalls the infant crying in a way the healthcare professional “had never heard before – a loud relentless, almost constant with no fluctuation crying”.
Letby disputed her former colleague’s evidence and said that when she went into the room Child I was quiet.
Hudson said that an hour later Child I was crying again and Letby had her hands in the incubator. The defendant told the jury she was trying to settle the baby girl.
Johnson said: “You had pumped her full of air?” Letby replied: “No.”
The prosecutor said: “That was why she was distressed.” Letby answered: “No.”
“You were doing your best to kill her?” Johnson asked. “No,” said the defendant, adding that she had “never injected air into any baby”.
The trial continues.