Lucy Letby: Nurse murdered baby by injecting 'dollops' of air, court told
As the trial continues, Yahoo News UK sets out who Letby is, her background and what she has been charged with.
A baby was murdered after two "dollops" of air were forced down his feeding tube, the trial of Lucy Letby has heard.
The 33-year-old nurse is said to have attacked the youngster, a newborn triplet, while she was working in the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
The infant, Child P, collapsed on the morning of 24 June, 2016 as his heart rate and oxygen levels dramatically dropped.
Medics managed to revive him but he needed further bouts of CPR throughout the day and died before a transfer to a specialist intensive care hospital could take place.
Letby had allegedly murdered one of his brothers, Child O, on the previous day shift – also with a fatal administration of air, it is claimed.
Giving evidence at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday, expert witness Dr Dewi Evans said he believed a first dose of air "destabilised" Child P on 23 June.
The infant was put on nil-by-mouth at night after he stopped tolerating his feeds, the court has heard.
Child P suffered his first collapse at about 9.40am the next day.
Dr Evans said: "I think he had an extra dollop of air. I don’t think he would have collapsed but for him having an additional injection of air into his stomach."
The retired consultant paediatrician said the effect was to "splinter the diaphragm" of Child P and compromise his breathing.
Ben Myers KC, defending, pointed out to Dr Evans that he had previously said he was "at a loss" to explain the 9.40am collapse and had suspected splintering of the diaphragm took place the day before.
Myers said to Dr Evans: "What you have done is invent an extra dollop of air to try to take your theory over the line."
Dr Evans replied: "I have not invented any dollops.
"The idea that I could get it all perfectly right from looking at all the notes is simply unrealistic."
He said he had come to his latest conclusion after following the evidence in the trial.
Letby denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of 10 others between June 2015 and June 2016, while she was working as a neonatal nurse.
Latest updates on the Lucy Letby trial:
Doctor ‘shocked’ as Lucy Letby asked if baby was ‘leaving here alive’ (Hereford Times, 2 min)
Nurse fainted after she and fellow medics couldn't revive baby, court told (Sky News, 2 min)
Lucy Letby ‘tried to murder baby after bid to remove her from duties refused’ (Hereford Times, 4 min)
Parents of triplets ‘begged for baby to be moved to new hospital after brothers died’ (Independent, 2 min)
Nurse tried to murder baby within two hours of her birth, trial hears (Sky News, 2 min)
Who is Lucy Letby and where is she from?
Letby's address has been given in court as Arran Avenue, Hereford, but the 33-year-old is known to have lived in the Blacon area of Chester.
She worked at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit.
In a 2013 interview with the Chester and District Standard newspaper, the nurse said she cared for babies requiring various levels of support.
She had worked at the unit as a student nurse during three years of training before qualifying as a children's nurse at the University of Chester in 2011.
Letby said she started working at the unit after graduating.
When was Lucy Letby arrested and what is she charged with?
Letby was arrested three times over the space of two years during an investigation into baby deaths at the Countess of Chester Hospital's neonatal unit.
The first arrest was in July 2018, on suspicion of the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of six babies. She was bailed.
Letby was then rearrested in June 2019, again on suspicion of the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of six babies. This time, she was also arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of three additional babies. She was bailed.
Finally, in November 2020, Letby was rearrested on suspicion of the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of nine babies.
One day later, police charged Letby with eight counts of murder and 10 of attempted murder. The charges related to a period between June 2015 and June 2016.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges at a hearing at Manchester Crown Court in October 2021.
In June last year, Letby had one not guilty verdict recorded for one of the murder charges.
It meant that when she went on trial in October last year, she faced seven murder charges (five boys and two girls) and 10 attempted murder charges (five boys and five girls).
Letby denies the alleged offences.