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‘I was afraid to leave my baby with her’: Mother says despite 'gut instinct' she did not complain about Lucy Letby
19 August 2023, 06:42
The mother of a baby who was left in Lucy Letby’s care has said she and her husband were afraid to leave their son with her after he unexpectedly collapsed.
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Speaking to LBC exclusively, an anonymous mother said "gut instinct" left her feeling uneasy around Lucy Letby, who was working in the same neonatal unit her baby was being kept in.
The mother said her son was born prematurely after she had a C-section before he was swiftly moved to the unit, which he spent three weeks in.
“Everything was as good as we could have expected it to be that night. It was perfect,” she told LBC.
But when her son experienced an unexpected collapse on his third day in the unit, her instinct began to kick in and she felt like something was wrong.
“I think it was day three he had an unexpected collapse, I’d been with him until about 5am in the morning and at 9am when I was going back to take milk down to him, a nurse had come to tell me that he collapsed in that interim period, that he had to be ventilated and sedated and he was on life-support."
She said while her baby had required extra care after birth, in the 24 hours before his collapse he had “been improving”.
“We’d even been told to be prepared to get to hold him the next day," she added.
“Even at 5am when I’d left him, we were still being told he was doing really well and to come down to prepare to hold him in the morning.”
Letby, 33, was found guilty on Friday of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others - making her one of the most prolific child killers in modern British history.
While her baby was not left exclusively in Letby’s care, the anonymous mother said the nurse “had been on the ward and had care of my baby during that week”.
Asked about how she felt about Letby at the time, she said: “Honestly, I was afraid to leave my baby with her. I didn’t have any reason why other than an absolute gut instinct.
“It’s nothing I’ve ever felt with anybody ever and certainly nothing that I felt with any of the other nurses on that unit - but I didn’t want to leave my baby with her.”
After she began to experience these uneasy thoughts about Letby, the mother said she voiced them to her husband who revealed he had also shared her concerns.
But they were left torn about whether to take action, as they feared they wouldn’t be “taken seriously” or that if they were ignored and Letby found out about their complaint, it would “make the situation worse”.
She said: “We discussed it at length whether we should request to have Lucy not care for our child.
“We decided that seeing as we had no reason to [talk] to anybody about why this would be the case, we’d probably be seen as hormonal or ridiculous or just a pain in the backside and not be taken seriously.
“We also both simultaneously expressed a fear that if we did ask for this and were denied, or even if Lucy was just still on that unit, well what could she do? Would this make the situation worse if we complain about her and she’s still around?”
Police got in touch with the pair during the early stages of investigation into Letby but it was not pursued further.
They were ultimately able to bring their son home safely, however they remained unnerved by their baby's unexpected collapse, particularly as "no clinical reason" was ever given for it.
And when Letby was pictured in the press, the mother said the realisation left her with the "most indescribable feeling of guilt".
Moment evil nurse Lucy Letby is led away by police after being arrested for the murder of seven babies
She continued: "It's the most indescribable feeling of guilt that I left my child with that person. And I knew in my heart what she was capable of and I left my child because that’s what everybody told me to do, she’s in the best place. And I have to live with that.
"It’s really, really hard. We don’t have any definitive proof that she was involved in our son’s sudden collapse, we only have our gut instinct, but our gut instinct has been proven right so far."
In 2015 and 2016, there was a significant rise in the numbers of babies who suffered serious and unexpected collapses in the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
Letby was the only member of the nursing and clinical staff who was on duty each time the collapses happened, which the Crown argued were not natural events.
Shelagh Fogarty reacts to the conviction of Lucy Letby
She used various ways to harm the babies including injecting air into the bloodstream, injecting air into the stomach, overfeeding with milk, physical assaults and poisoning with insulin.
While Letby's motive remains unclear, prosecutors suggested she got a 'thrill' out of 'playing God' with the babies' lives.
Verdicts on 16 of the 22 counts she faced were returned by the jury on earlier days, but could not be reported until now.
The jury could not reach verdicts on six counts of attempted murder.
Police are now investigating further suspicious incidents at hospitals where Lucy Letby worked from 2012 to 2016.
Cheshire Police are reviewing thousands of medical files from two hospitals - Countess of Chester and also at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, where the killer nurse completed a work placement.
Letby is set to be sentenced on Monday.
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