MANCHESTER, England – A senior nurse told a British court she had “sleepless nights” over incidents at a hospital where her colleague, Lucy Letby, allegedly murdered seven babies.
Letby, 32, who is on trial in the UK, is also accused of attempting to murder 10 other babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit during a year-long killing spree between 2015 and 2016.
It is alleged she killed some babies by injecting insulin, milk or even air into their tiny bodies.
The jury heard testimony from Kathryn Percival-Calderbank, UK wire service PA reported, who recalled a night shift when Letby is said to have injected air into the bloodstream of one baby girl with fatal consequences.
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The infant – referred to as Child D – suffered three collapses at the hospital in the early hours of June 22, 2015, and was allegedly the third baby murdered by Letby over a two-week period.
On the first occasion, Percival-Calderbank told Manchester Crown Court, she noticed an “unusual, mosaic-type” rash on the baby’s torso and arms which appeared to be a “reddy-brown” color.
She recalled checking on Child D who appeared “nice and stable” but later returned to the intensive care room when alarms sounded and the baby’s monitor showed “she was desaturating, and her heart rate had dropped.”
After Baby D was given oxygen and stabilized, Percival-Calderbank said she noticed the infant’s “pronounced” rash.
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Under cross-examination from Ben Myers, the lawyer defending Letby, Percival-Calderbank was asked if the “extra detail” she gave about the rash – compared to her police statement – was something she may have picked up during conversation at work.
She admitted she “might” have done, but she had also had recollections about events.
Myers said, “Can you help us with how you got the extra details?”
Percival-Calderbank replied, “Because I started thinking about the events. As I was getting sleepless nights I was thinking about the events that happened.”
Also providing testimony was on-call consultant at the hospital, Dr. Elizabeth Newby, who had attended the first collapse of Child D and was surprised to be called back that that night.
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“I was very surprised to hear a crash call because although I was concerned after the first episode she didn’t appear to be a baby in extremis,” Newby said.
Consultant pediatrician, Dr. Dewi Evans, who is providing expert testimony in the trial, said the “only possible cause” of Baby D’s collapse was an injection of air into a vein.
Prosecutor Nick Johnson told the jury that Letby was a “constant, malevolent presence” at the hospital’s neonatal unit when the trial opened in September.
It is alleged she was the “common denominator” and the babies’ deaths coincided with her shifts.
Babies who had not been unstable “suddenly severely deteriorated” while others who had been sick and recovered, suddenly deteriorated “for no apparent reason”, he said.
In some cases, it is alleged Letby took up to three attempts to kill her victims.
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Letby denies all 22 charges against her.
The trial, expected to last six months, was forced to pause temporarily on Thursday due to a juror falling ill. Judge Justice Goss said he was hopeful proceedings could resume on Friday.