Nurse Lucy Letby told police it was 'bad luck' that three babies died in two weeks while she was on duty

20 April 2023, 18:40 | Updated: 20 April 2023, 18:43

Lucy Letby
Lucy Letby. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Lucy Letby claimed it was just "bad luck" that three babies died in the space of a fortnight at the hospital where she was on duty as a nurse.

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Letby, 33, is accused of murdering seven babies and trying to murder 10 others between June 2015 and June 2016. She denies all the allegations.

The neo-natal nurse is alleged to have injected four babies with air between June 8 and June 22, 2015, killing three of them.

Police asked Letby to explain the "spike" of fatalities at the Countess of Chester Hospital, when she was first arrested in 2018.

In police interviews read at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday, a detective asked her: "What were you thinking during that period?"

Letby replied: "That it was a shock to have that many deaths."

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Lucy Letby appearing in the dock at Manchester Crown Court
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Lucy Letby appearing in the dock at Manchester Crown Court. Picture: Alamy

The detective said: "It must have been devastating."

The detective asked: "Did any of the staff sort of question the hospital or colleagues as to where the spike was coming from?" Letby replied: "Not that I'm aware of."

The detective said: "Did you yourself?"

"No," replied Letby.

Letby is on trial for seven counts of murder and ten counts of attempted murder at Manchester Crown Court
Letby is on trial for seven counts of murder and ten counts of attempted murder at Manchester Crown Court. Picture: Getty

The detective went on: "You dealt with all those (babies) didn't you? What did you put that down to, bad luck?"

"Yes," Letby replied.

The defendant also told police that she was "upset and frustrated" six minutes before the collapse of her alleged third victim, a baby boy.

Letby, 33, messaged a colleague during a night shift in the unit's intensive care room, jurors were told.

Five days earlier another baby boy - her alleged first victim, Child A - had died in intensive care room one.

On the evening of June 13 2015, the court heard she texted a fellow nurse: "I just keep thinking about Mon(day). Feel like I need to be in 1 to overcome it but (nurse) said no x.

"I just feel I need to be in 1 to get the image out of my head. To be in (room) 3 is eating me up. All I can see is him in 1."

Later she told her colleague "I'll overcome it myself" before at 11.09pm texting her, saying: "Forget it I'm obviously making more of it than I should x.

"Sleep well xx."

 Lucy Letby
Lucy Letby. Picture: Shutterstock

At 11.15pm the baby boy, Child C, suddenly deteriorated in room one and died the following morning, jurors have heard.

When interviewed by police about the death of Child C, the defendant said she did not recall the text conversation. Asked what she felt she needed to overcome, she replied: "I'm assuming ... I previously had a bad experience in (room) one."

Letby thought the image she "wanted out of my head" was that of Child A.

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She told officers: "It's very difficult, when you see dead babies it's hard to get that image out of your head."

The detective asked: "Why would going into nursery one help?"

Letby replied: "Because I would see a different baby in there, and see a different scenario to the scenario I had at the time when he died."

The detective said: "How would it be a different scenario?" Letby said: "It's a different baby, it's different staff, it's a different night.

Police at the home of Lucy Letby in Chester
Police at the home of Lucy Letby in Chester. Picture: Alamy

"Because I think when you are going to the same incubator space and there is a different baby there you know you let the one you lost go. Until you go into that space, you see that baby until another baby goes in there."

The detective said: "You sent the final text at 11.09pm. Six minutes after you sent that, (Child C) collapsed." "Right," said Letby.

The detective went on: "What are you thoughts on that?" Letby responded: "I don't have any thoughts on that."

The detective said: "The text messages suggest you were frustrated at not working in nursery one, do you agree?"

The defendant said: "Yes, I think it would have helped me if I could have been in nursery one."

Letby agreed she was the only staff member in room one when Child C collapsed and that she was seen at his cot-side when a monitor alarm sounded.

The detective asked: "And at that time you were feeling upset and frustrated?"

"Yes," said Letby. The detective said: "You went on to attack (Child C)?"

Letby said: "No I haven't. No."

Police at the home of Lucy Letby
Police at the home of Lucy Letby. Picture: Alamy

The detective said: "Lucy, did you murder (Child C)?" "No," the defendant said.

Letby was also asked by police about Child E who she is accused of murdering on August 4 2015 and his twin brother, Child F, who she allegedly attempted to murder the next day.

The court heard Letby made 10 searches on her Facebook account for the boys' parents between August 6 and January 10 2016, including Christmas Day.

Letby told detectives she did not remember making the searches but it could be to "see how babies were doing" and that members of staff "cared for the babies".

The interviewing officer asked her: "Were you obsessed with this particular family?"

"No," she replied.

The trial continues next Tuesday (April 25).