Shropshire Star

Lucy Letby told police she did not dislodge baby’s breathing tube, court hears

The 34-year-old is on trial at Manchester Crown Court accused of the attempted murder of Child K at the Countess of Chester Hospital in 2016.

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Lucy Letby

Killer nurse Lucy Letby told police she did not deliberately dislodge the breathing tube of a baby girl with the intention of causing her harm, a court has heard.

Letby, 34, is on trial at Manchester Crown Court accused of the attempted murder of the infant, known as Child K, while she was working a night shift at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neo-natal unit in February 2016.

Letby was convicted last August of the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others at the hospital between June 2015 and June 2016 but the jury could not reach a verdict on the single allegation involving Child K.

The prosecution say consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram walked into the unit’s intensive care nursery – less than two hours after Child K’s birth – and said he saw Letby stood next to the incubator “doing nothing” as the infant’s blood oxgyen levels dipped but no monitor alarms sounded.

The Countess of Chester Hospital
Letby is accused of attempting to murder Child K while she was working a night-shift at the Countess of Chester Hospital (Peter Byrne/PA)

Letby was interviewed by detectives after she was arrested at her home in Blacon, Chester, in July 2018 and then subsequent arrests at her family home in Hereford in June 2019 and November 2020, the court heard.

On Friday, the jury of six women and six men were played excerpts of the video interviews with the defendant.

In June 2019, Detective Sergeant Danielle Stonier, of Cheshire Constabulary, asked Letby: “Dr Jayaram says you were stood next to (Child K’s) incubator, do you agree with that?”

Letby said: “I don’t remember.”

The detective said: “He said you weren’t doing anything other than looking at equipment. He said you didn’t have your hands in the incubator at the time and were not doing anything physically with the baby. (Child K’s) monitor was showing a drop in sats (saturations) and a drop into the 80s and still falling, and he can’t recall any alarms sounding, do you recall that Lucy?”

“No,” said Letby.

Det Sgt Stonier said: “If the sat levels had dropped to the 80s and were still falling, would you expect the alarm to be activated?”

Letby said: “Yes.”

The detective said: “Would you expect them to be sounding?”

Letby repeated: “Yes.”

Det Sgt Stonier said: “Explain to me what you were doing when Dr Jayaram walked into the nursery at this point?”

Letby said: “I don’t recall.”

The detective said: “From his evidence, (Child K’s) monitor was showing a drop in sats and were continuing to fall, and the alarm from the monitor was not heard to be sounding, explain this to me?”

Letby replied: “I don’t know why the monitor wasn’t sounding.”

Det Sgt Stonier said: “Did you turn the monitor off, Lucy?”

“No,” said Letby.

Det Sgt Stonier said: “Did you deactivate the sound on the monitor?”

Letby said: “No.”

The detective went on: “Dr Jayaram says (Child K’s) endotracheal (ET) tube was dislodged, there was no fault on the ventilator and the tube was replaced. He confirms that (Child K) was not active and had been fine earlier on but then suffered an event when you were the only one in the room, explain that to me Lucy.”

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

Det Sgt Stonier said: “Tell me what would have happened to (Child K) if Dr Jayaram had not walked in at this time?”

Letby said: “I would have summoned help. If I’d noticed her observations were declining or the tube had slipped.”

The detective said: “He established the tube had dislodged 30 to 60 seconds before he entered the room, why did you not call for help the moment it became dislodged?”

Letby said: “I don’t recall seeing it was dislodged.”

The detective said: “His evidence suggests you would have had at least 30 seconds to react to the tube and it’s quite clear you didn’t, why didn’t you help (Child K)?”

Letby replied: “I don’t remember the incident.”

Manchester Crown Court
The trial was being held at Manchester Crown Court (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Det Sgt Stonier said: “Lucy, did you dislodge (Child K’s) tube?”

“No,” she replied.

The detective added: “Intending to cause her harm.”

“No,” Letby repeated.

Child K was transferred to a specialist hospital later on February 17 because of her extreme prematurity. She died there three days later although the prosecution does not allege Letby caused her death.

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

The defence case starts on Monday.

A court order prohibits reporting of the identities of the surviving and dead children involved in the case.

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