Nurse accused of murdering seven babies denies getting a ‘thrill’ from photographing sympathy card

A nurse accused of murdering seven babies has denied she got a “thrill” from photographing a sympathy card she sent to the parents of a baby girl she allegedly killed.

Lucy Letby took the photo at the place where Child I died at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neo-natal unit in October 2015, the court heard.

The 33-year-old is accused of killing her at the fourth attempt.

Letby has denied all seven murder allegations as well as the attempted murder of 10 other babies at the hospital between June 2015 and June 2016.

During a night shift on the unit Letby had captured a photograph on her phone of a sympathy card she wrote to be passed to colleagues attending the child’s funeral, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Cross-examining her on Thursday, prosecutor Nick Johnson KC said: “You took a picture of a card, addressed to the parents of a child who had died in dreadful circumstances, at the place where she died.”

Letby said: “The place is insignificant. My usual behaviour is to photograph things that I send or receive.”

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Mr Johnson asked: “Did it give you a bit of a thrill to photograph it at the place where this poor unfortunate child died?”

Letby replied: “Absolutely not.”

Letby was also asked about Child A – a baby boy who died on 8 June 2015 after air was injected into his bloodstream.

Mr Johnson told the court a medical review found an air bubble in his brain and lungs.

“Did you inject Child A with that?” Letby was asked.

“No,” she replied.

The prosecutor also asked Letby if she wanted to go straight back to the part of the unit where Child A was cared for after his death.

She said she did because from her experience at Liverpool Women’s Hospital she learned “if you’ve lost a baby in a certain cot space you go back… so you can move on from that first experience”.

Read more from the Lucy Letby trial
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Nurse tells court of ‘shock’ of death of child in her care
Letby wrote note saying ‘I’m evil, I did this’

The jury also heard how following her arrest a total of 257 shift handover sheets – some including the names of babies she allegedly harmed – were found at her then home in Chester and her parents’ address in Hereford.

One sheet found “in pristine condition” at her address in Westbourne Road, Chester, was dated 1 June 2010 – her first day of work as a student at the neonatal unit.

Letby has told the jury the handover sheets “inadvertently” came home with her in her uniform pocket.

Police found 31 handover sheets in a Morrisons bag – her work bag – under her bed.

Mr Johnson accused Letby of not telling the truth when she said she could not remember why she put them in the bag,

A blood gas reading of Child M, a baby boy who Letby allegedly attempted to murder, was also discovered in police searches.

Mr Johnson reminded Letby that a nursing colleague who took the measurement had told the court she would have disposed of the printout in the unit’s confidential waste bin.

The prosecutor asked: “When did you fish it out of the bin?”

Letby said: “I never fished anything out of the confidential bin.”

Mr Johnson said: “How did you get it?”

Letby said: “I can’t recall specifically.”

Mr Johnson said: “It was for your little collection, wasn’t it Lucy Letby?”

“No,” Letby replied.

The nurse also admitted sometimes visiting the unit at night while not working a shift.

She said this was to fill in paperwork or speak to colleagues and the night-time visits were due to her shift patterns.

Mr Johnson said: “So there’s occasions you have been on the unit and no trace?”

Letby said her swipe card used for entry would have been recorded.

Mr Johnson said she had been on the unit on a day off when Child G, a baby girl who she allegedly tried to murder, was seriously ill.

The prosecutor said: “You had been having a look at her, hadn’t you? Why are you looking at this child?”

Letby said she was “checking on her” as the paperwork she had come back to complete related to that baby.

Mr Johnson continued: “There’s no record of you going into the unit from the swipe data. You would not need a pass to get in. You could ring the buzzer and walk in. People trusted you.”

Letby replied: “To go to the unit at night, you have to have a reason to go. It was quieter at night.”

The trial continues on Friday.