‘Killer’ nurse murdered babies with lethal injections at UK hospital, jury told

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    A nurse murdered seven babies in a year-long killing spree inside a hospital, a jury heard.

    Lucy Letby, 32, allegedly tried to kill 10 others who survived "catastrophic collapses" following her attacks.

    She either poisoned victims with insulin or injected them with milk or air inside the hospital’s neo-natal unit which cares for premature or sick new-borns, a court heard.

    The nurse killed a day-old boy with insulin then tried to murder another with a shot of air the next day, Manchester Crown Court was told.

    It is alleged another baby, who was in a good condition’ at birth and had been stable’, died less than 90 minutes after Letby took over his care.

    A paediatrician said the tot, who was only two days old, had received "a deliberate injection of air".

    The following night a girl also collapsed while in Letby’s care and was only saved by emergency treatment after medics put out a "crash call", it was alleged.

    Nick Johnson KC, prosecuting, said police found Letby "tracked" the baby's family on Facebook – as she had with other victims, the prosecution alleged.

    She allegedly twice tried to kill the same baby on the same day.

    And she made three attempts to kill one tot within a fortnight – carrying out two of the attacks on him within the same 24-hour period, it was alleged.

    Mr Johnson said Letby was a constant malevolent presence’ at the Countess of Chester Hospital in the Cheshire town.

    All the alleged offences happened in the neo-natal intensive care or high dependency units – often during night shifts.

    Nursing shift records shown to the jury of eight women and four men revealed Letby was the only one on duty when all the alleged attacks had happened.

    Mr Johnson said consultants raised the alarm after spotting a significant rise in the number of babies who were dying and in the number of serious collapses’.

    "They searched for a cause,’’ he said. "Their concern was that babies who were dying had deteriorated unexpectedly.

    "Not only that but when babies collapsed they did not respond to appropriate and timely resuscitation. Some other babies who did not die collapsed dramatically but then recovered.

    "Their collapses and recoveries defied the normal experience of the treating doctors. Babies who had not been unstable at all suddenly deteriorated.

    "Sometimes babies who had been sick but then been on the mend suddenly deteriorated for no apparent reason.

    Having searched for a cause, which they were unable to find, the consultants noticed that the inexplicable collapses and deaths did have one common denominator.

    "The presence of one of the neonatal nurses and that nurse was Lucy Letby.’’

    Police were called in and conducted a "painstaking review" which suggested a "poisoner" was at large.

    "Somebody poisoned these babies deliberately with insulin. This was no accident,’’ Mr Johnson said.

    "If we are right about that, the fact that there were two deliberate poisonings will help you when you are assessing whether the collapses and deaths of other children on the neonatal unit were because someone was sabotaging them or whether these were just a tragic coincidence.’"

    Letby, from Hereford, denies murdering five boys and two girls.

    She has also pleaded not guilty to attempting to murder another five boys and five girls between June 2015 and June 2016.

    Family members of some of the alleged victims sat in the public gallery along with Letby’s parents, John, 76, and Susan, 62.

    A court order bans the babies involved from being named.

    The trial continues.

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