Trial continues of UK nurse accused of killing premature babies
Oct 14, 2022 - 03:38 AM
LONDON (AA) – The trial of Lucy Letby, a nurse accused of murdering premature babies, continued on Thursday at Manchester Crown Court.
Letby, 32, denies charges of killing seven babies and attempting to kill 10 more.
The alleged murder spree took place at the neonatal unit at Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and June 2016. Chester is a city in Cheshire, a county in northwest England.
The alleged murders were carried out through a variety of means, including insulin poisoning and injecting them with air.
Most of the victims were born premature, and some were only a day old.
Letby was put on clerical duties where she could not further endanger children after falling under suspicion. She was arrested in July 2018, after which point police searched her home.
The court heard today that she wrote on a piece of paper found in her home during a police search: “I don’t deserve to live. I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them. I am a horrible evil person.”
In other notes, she professed her innocence and questioned why and how she was in her current situation, and who had made allegations against her.
Alongside the notes, the police found paperwork relating to many of the killed babies.
The court also heard that Letby sent a sympathy card to the parents of a baby she allegedly killed on her fourth attempt, and at other points was interrupted by parents and medical staff in the process of allegedly attacking babies, who at that point did not suspect her.
The defense argued that Letby’s note about her being evil were the writings of “an anguished woman in despair” who “poured her feelings onto paper as a way of coping.”
Letby’s defense team also told the court that context and coincidence had a role to play.
“Someone in that position, in that role … is more likely to be there when deterioration happens, but that doesn’t mean she made it happen,” her defense team said.
Some of the babies who were allegedly killed were in a “precarious position from birth” and were “born on the margins of viability”.
“Generally, we are dealing with babies who are clinically fragile, and their condition can change very swiftly,” the defense said.
“For a nurse in the neonatal unit, standing there when a child is unwell is unremarkable,” they added. “Her presence alone is now treated as sinister.”
“There is no evidence of the actual events being alleged,” they said.
They also sought to shift the blame on the hospital, saying there were “problems with the way this unit performed that had nothing to do with Lucy Letby”, adding there were examples of “suboptimal care” on the hospital’s part.
A court order has banned reporting the identities of the killed and surviving children, as well as banning the identification of parents and witnesses.
The trial, which is scheduled to last six months and started on Monday, continues.