Letby denies trying to harm any baby in her care

Letby denies trying to harm any baby in her care

2 hours agoBy BBC reporters & PA Media, BBC NewsHelen TipperLucy Letby has given evidence for the first time during her trial

Former nurse Lucy Letby has told a jury she has never intended or tried to harm any baby in her care.

The 34-year-old is accused of attempting to murder a baby girl at the Countess of Chester Hospital on 17 February 2016.

Jurors at Manchester Crown Court have been told Letby was convicted last August by another jury of the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others, but a verdict could not be reached on the allegation involving an infant referred to as Baby K.

Giving evidence for the first time during the latest trial, she denied attempting to harm the baby in any way.

‘Alarms sounded’

The prosecution claim consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram walked into the neonatal unit’s intensive care nursery room, less than two hours after Baby K’s birth, and saw Letby standing next to the incubator “doing nothing”, as the baby’s blood oxygen levels dipped but no monitor alarms sounded.

Ben Myers KC, defending, asked Letby: “Did you attempt to murder [Baby K]?”

Letby replied: “No.”

Mr Myers said: “Did you intend to do her any harm at all?”

“No,” she repeated.

Mr Myers said: “Do you accept you have ever intended to hurt any baby in your care?”

Letby replied: “No, I don’t.”

Letby told the court she did not recall the particular events said to have taken place in nursery one, the intensive care room.

PALucy Letby worked at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit

Mr Myers said: “You know the allegation, based on the evidence of Dr Jayaram, is that he says he came in and [Baby K] was desaturating and you were standing there doing nothing and no alarm was sounding, you understand that?”

“Yes,” said Letby.

Mr Myers said: “Do you recall any incident where Dr Jayaram comes in when something like that was happening?”

Letby replied: “No.”

Mr Myers said: “Do you recall saying that [Baby K] had just started to desaturate?”

“No,” said Letby.

Mr Myers said: “Do you remember being there at all at that time in those circumstances?”

Letby repeated: “No.”

Mr Myers said: “Was there any incident that morning where you were trying to hurt [Baby K]?

“No,” said Letby.

Mr Myers said: “When you say you don’t recall an incident like the one Dr Jayaram describes, by doing so do you accept that it happened?”

“No,” said Letby.

Mr Myers said: “Why were you searching for [Baby K’s surname] on your Facebook a little over two years after this event is said to have taken place?”

Letby replied: “I’m not sure. I don’t have recollection of doing that at the time or now why I did.”

Mr Myers said: “Is it linked to any attempt to do her harm?”

Letby said: “No.”

‘Call for help’

Baby K was later transferred to a specialist hospital because of her extreme prematurity.

She died three days later, although the prosecution does not allege Letby caused her death.

Letby, originally of Hereford, denies a single count of attempted murder.

Opening the case, prosecutor Nick Johnson KC alleged Letby was also responsible for two further desaturations of Baby K during the same shift in a bid to give her colleagues the impression the infant was habitually displacing her own breathing tube.

Mr Myers said: “The allegation is that some time after 6.10am [Baby K] has a desaturation which you caused by interfering with the tube. Did you do that?”

Letby said: “No, I didn’t.”

Mr Myers said: “Did you try to interfere with her tube to make it look like she was unwell and desaturating for no apparent reasons?”

Letby said: “Absolutely not.”

Mr Myers said: “To try to cover your tracks?”

“No,” said Letby.

Mr Myers then went through Letby’s answers to detectives when she was questioned about Baby K following her arrest.

The barrister asked Letby about a detective asking her, ‘Explain what you were doing when Dr Jayaram walked into the nursery’.

Mr Myers continued: “The question is put to you like a fact. Had you actually agreed you were there in the first place?”

“No,” Letby replied.

Mr Myers continued quoting a detective’s question to Letby, telling the court they said: “Tell me what would have happened if Dr Jayaram had not walked in when you were stood by the incubator.”

He asked Letby: “Have you ever agreed there was ever a time when he walked in to see you stood by the incubator?”

Letby replied: “No.”

Mr Myers said: “Do you remember anything like that happening?”

“No,” Letby replied again.

Mr Myers said the police officer then asked Letby why she did not “call for help” when the baby’s oxygen levels began to fall.

He continued: “Were you agreeing you were there in the first place to call for help?”

“No,” Letby again said.

Mr Myers asked why Letby had suggested Baby K may have “self corrected” with time after her oxygen levels had dropped.

Letby said: “I was trying to be helpful at the time. They were asking me questions, which I believed were factually correct.”

Mr Myers said: “Do you accept you were in the nursery not helping [Baby K]?”

Letby replied: “No, I don’t.”

Mr Johnson, cross-examining, asked Letby: “What were you doing on Facebook on April 20 2018?”

Letby said: “From my notes I looked up [Baby K’s surname] on Facebook.”

Mr Johnson said: “When [Baby K] left the Countess of Chester she didn’t have a first name, did she?

“I think she had been named when she left. That’s why you were searching for [Baby K’s surname] wasn’t it?”

Letby said: “I don’t recall why I was searching.”

Mr Johnson said: “Just like you don’t recall whether you were in nursery one at about 3.45am?”

Letby said: “No, I don’t recall.”

Mr Johnson said: “If a nurse deliberately displaced the ET [endrotracheal] tube of a child of [Baby K’s] gestation, what would likely happen?”

Letby replied: “That’s a hypothetical question.”

Mr Johnson said: “Why would you not displace an ET tube?”

Letby said: “Because you would have no need to. That tube is there for that baby to breathe.”

Mr Johnson said: “Why would you not displace it?”

Letby said: “It would cause harm to a baby. They couldn’t breathe without that tube.”

‘Likely to kill’

Mr Johnson said: “Do you agree that you are likely to kill that baby if you did that deliberately?”

“Yes,” said Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “Would you agree that the baby is more likely to die if you don’t try to do something about it quickly?”

“Yes,” repeated Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “And doing something like that to a child of [Baby K’s] age is likely to kill them or at least severely compromise their prospects of survival?”

Letby replied: “Yes, any baby.”

Mr Johnson said: “Particularly a baby of [Baby K’s] gestational age?”

“Yes,” said Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “And that’s what you did, isn’t it?”

“No,” said Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “You actually did it three times, didn’t you?”

“No,” said Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “Does it come to this, because you are saying you are not the sort of person that kills babies, you would not do that?”

Letby said: “I know my actions and I know I didn’t displace that tube.”

Mr Johnson said: “But you are just that sort of person, aren’t you?”

“No,” said Letby.

Mr Johnson said:” You have killed seven babies in that unit, haven’t you?”

Letby said: “No, I have not.”

Mr Johnson said: “And you tried to kill six others, one on two separate occasions, didn’t you?”

“No,” said Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “Therefore what Dr Jayaram says cannot be right, is that your case?”

Letby said: “Yes. I didn’t dislodge any tube.”

Mr Johnson said: “Are you suggesting he is not telling the truth?”

Letby said: “I don’t think I comment on whether he is telling the truth, I just know that didn’t happen.”

The trial continues.

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