Accused Lucy Letby denies ‘getting thrill’ at seeing parents bathe dead baby

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Murder-accused nurse Lucy Letby has denied “getting a thrill” at watching a grieving couple bathe their dead daughter.

Letby, 33, is said to have murdered the baby girl, Child I, at the fourth attempt in October 2015.

She denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of 10 others at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit.

Following her death, Child I was bathed by her parents as part of the unit’s standard bereavement service.

The mother added Letby “kept going on about how she was present at (Child I’s) first bath and how much (Child I) had loved it”.

On Friday, prosecutor Nick Johnson KC asked the defendant: “Why did you say that?”

Letby replied: “I was trying in this awful situation to have a little bit of normality and I was referring to a positive memory.

“It was not meant with any malice. It was just trying to reflect on a happier memory.”

Mr Johnson said: “How can you sit there and say (Child I) was enjoying her first bath, when she was dead?”

Letby said: “She had her first bath when she was alive, that was what I was referring to.

“I’m not saying she enjoyed the bath she passed away for. I was referring to the earlier bath.”

Mr Johnson said: “Were you getting a thrill out of what you were watching, the grief and despair you were watching in that room?”

Letby said: “Absolutely not.”

Letby agreed  “despite three life-threatening situations in the preceding three weeks” Child I appeared to be in good condition when the nurse came in for the night shift at 7.30pm on October 22.

Just before midnight Child I deteriorated, the court heard.

Mr Johnson reminded Letby of nursing colleague Ashleigh Hudson’s evidence that she heard a cry from the infant she had “not heard before”.

Mr Johnson said: “She said it was a loud, relentless, almost constant crying. Is she right about that?”

Letby said: “I didn’t hear that cry.

“She was not screaming when I went into the room.”

At 1.06am Child I was crying again when Miss Hudson responded and saw Letby at the child’s incubator, the court heard.

Mr Johnson said to the defendant: “You had pumped (Child I) with air, hadn’t you?”

“No,” said Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “That’s why she was so distressed.”

Letby said: “No.”

Mr Johnson said: “And you were doing your best to kill her?

“No,” repeated Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “There then followed a very long attempt to save (Child I)?”

Letby said: “Yes.”

Mr Johnson said: “Despite the best efforts of the doctors, she died.”

“Yes,” said Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “And the reason for that is that you had injected her circulation with air, hadn’t you?”

“No,” said Letby.

Mr Johnson said: “There was nothing they could do to prevent her dying.”

Letby said: “I have never injected air into any baby.”

Earlier Letby said staffing levels on the night could have caused or contributed to Child I’s death.

She said that a doctor should have stayed with Child I after the first deterioration.

Letby denied she had falsified medical records to “put some time” between herself and “serious events involving Child I”.

The defendant, from Hereford, denies all the alleged offences said to have taken place between June 2015 and June 2016.

The trial continues on Monday.

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