Nurse ‘caught killing baby by mum who didn’t know what was happening’, jury told

A "killer" neonatal nurse was "interrupted" by a mother while she was "in the process of attacking her premature son" who later died, a court has heard.

Former nurse Lucy Letby allegedly murdered the child – born seven weeks premature and weighing less than 3lbs – when he was in her care.

The prosecution alleges she then went on to develop "an unusual interest" in her victim's parents and even searched them out on social media several times – including "once on Christmas Day.

Letby, 32, a former neonatal nurse at Countess of Chester Hospital in Chester, is on trial accused of murdering seven babies and trying to kill 10 others in an alleged year-long killing spree at the hospital.

She denies all charges.

Nick Johnson KC, prosecuting, said in August 2015, the mum walked in to see her son and "interrupted Lucy Letby who was in the process of attacking [the child] – although she did not realise it at the time".

The baby boy "was acutely distressed and bleeding from his mouth" when the mum arrived with breast milk, said Mr Johnson, with Letby trying to reassure her the blood was due to the "feeding tube irritating his throat".

The jury heard Letby went on to tell the mum that the registrar would be down to "review" the boy's condition and urged her "to return to the postnatal ward".

Letby also allegedly told her victim's mother: "Trust me, I'm a nurse".

The mum "did as she was told" but Mr Johnson said "she was concerned and telephoned her husband when she got back to the labour ward".

The baby is said to have lost 25% of his blood and a doctor said he had never seen a small baby suffer "such a large bleed". The boy died just a few hours later, aged six days old.

No post mortem was performed as the parents did not want one, the jury heard, and the doctor and coroner's office did not think one was "necessary".

He added in Letby's notes there was "no mention" of the mum's visit or the blood around the baby's mouth, claiming the "fraudulent notes" were "false, misleading and designed to cover her tracks".

The nurse was a "constant malevolent presence" at the Countess of Chester Hospital, Mr Johnson said, where she worked in the neonatal intensive care or high dependency units – often during night shifts.

After an investigation, it was found that the only common denominator in an unusually high number of baby deaths was that Letby was on shift in each tragic case.

Letby, from Hereford, denies murdering five boys and two girls.

She has also pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of another five boys and five girls between June 2015 and June 2016.

Family members of some of the alleged victims sat in the public gallery along with Letby’s parents, John, 76, and Susan, 62.

A court order bans the babies involved from being named.

The trial continues.

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