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'Taking newborn to the mortuary was the hardest thing I've had to do', says Lucy Letby
18 October 2022, 17:48 | Updated: 18 October 2022, 21:18
A children's nurse accused of murdering seven babies said taking the body of a newborn child to the mortuary was "the hardest thing I've ever had to do", as his father cried on the floor.
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Lucy Letby, 32, told a colleague about her grief in the wake of the death of her first alleged murder victim in 2015 at the Countess of Chester Hospital neonatal unit, Manchester Crown Court heard on Wednesday.
On top of the murder charges she faces, Letby is also accused of attempting to murder ten more babies, some of whom she allegedly tried to kill multiple times.
She is said to have murdered Child A on the evening of June 8 by injecting air into his bloodstream and then allegedly attempted to murder his twin sister, Child B, the same way the next night.
A Facebook search was made for the children's mother from Letby's account on the night Child A died.
On June 9, before the next shift started, she replied to a fellow nurse who asked: "Hi Lucy. Hope you are OK?"
Letby replied: "I think we all did everything we possibly could under very difficult and sad circumstances. Haven't had much sleep. Don't really want to see parents but it's got to be done.
"I said to (another nurse) that I can't look after (Child B) because I just don't know how I'm going to feel seeing parents.
"Dad was on the floor crying saying 'please don't take our baby away' when we took him to the mortuary. It's just heart-breaking.
"It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Hopefully have a more positive one tonight."
Just hours later, Child B deteriorated rapidly while Letby was on duty, before stabilising and being discharged from hospital a month later.
Letby later texted a colleague who had looked after Child A: "It was awful. He died very suddenly and unexpectedly just after handover.
"Waiting for post-mortem results. Hopefully they can get to the bottom of it."
Her colleague replied: "It's so terrible. You are not having a great run at the moment. Hopefully we will find out soon."
Letby replied: "I was not supposed to be in either.
"I took pictures, hand and footprints etc. They are besides themselves worried that they will lose (Child B) too."
Letby is accused of murdering Child C on June 14 and Child D on June 22, 2015.
On June 10 and June 25, a second and third Facebook search for the twins' mother was made from Letby's account.
On June 30, Letby messaged a colleague to say that Child B had moved to a recovery room in the unit.
Her colleague said: "There's something odd about that night and the other three that went so suddenly."
Letby asked: "What do you mean? Odd that we lost three and in different circumstances?"
The colleague replied: "Were they that different? Ignore me, I'm speculating."
Letby said: "Well (Child C) was tiny, obviously compromised in utero. (Child D) septic. It's (Child A) I can't get my head round."
A staff debrief into the death of Child A was held on July 30, the court heard.
Letby is alleged to have murdered Child E on August 4 and then tried to kill his twin brother, Child F, the next day.
On September 9, Letby again searched for Child A and B's mother on Facebook.
Ten days later she asked a colleague about the twins' parents.
The colleague said: "They seem good. (The father) seems to be a little less anxious. Loving having (Child B) home."
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Letby replied: "That's great. She looks like (the mother)!!"
A court order prohibits reporting of the identities of surviving and dead children allegedly attacked by Letby, and also prohibits identifying parents or witnesses connected with the children.
Letby, originally from Hereford, denies all the offences, which are said to have been committed between June 2015 and June 2016.
The trial was adjourned until Wednesday morning.