Lucy Letby murder trial: Nurse accused of killing children considered coming to New Zealand

Prosecutors believed the collapses and the deaths of 17 children were the work of nurse Lucy Letby. Photo / Provided

British nurse Lucy Letby, accused of killing seven children and attempting to kill 10 others, has been considering coming to New Zealand, a Manchester court has heard.

Letby, 33, is fighting murder charges in the deaths of five boys and two girls, and attempted murder charges in five boys and five girls, since caring for babies at the Countess’s neonatal unit of Chester Hospital in North West England between 2015 and 2016.

Prosecutors say he injected air into the babies’ feeding tubes and bloodstreams before they died.

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Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday heard evidence of how Letby had considered coming to New Zealand, reports the Daily Mail.

Letby’s colleague Dr Alison Ventress intended to travel to New Zealand and sent a message to Letby on 30 September 2015 saying: “Defo come to New Zealand then! I need a friendly face!!”

Letby responded, saying, “Haha not brave enough to get up and leave everything. I could not leave my parents. They would be completely devastated. I find it quite difficult to be away from me now and it’s only 100 miles.

“Aww where are they based?” Dr Ventress replied.

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“Hereford,” Letby replied. “I came here to university and I haven’t come back. They hate it and I feel very guilty about staying here sometimes but that’s what I want. Families are tough, right!

Lucy Letby worked in the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital.  Photo / Provided
Lucy Letby worked in the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital. Photo / Provided

The court also heard evidence on Letby’s ninth alleged victim, Child I, who was born in August 2015 and died two months later. The list of Letby’s alleged victims extends all the way to Baby Q.

In a court filing, Child I’s mother described how she noticed her daughter was much better than six weeks ago.

“Now he was looking around the room, taking everything. I was able to get her to sit on my lap. I remember looking at her and thinking, “We’re going home.”

“She looked like a full-term baby. She didn’t look frail or small.”

The mother said Letby helped her get ready to bathe her daughter for the first time.

“I was so happy to be able to bathe her. [Child I] obviously he was enjoying himself because he was smiling, Lucy even offered to take some pictures using my cell phone, which I accepted,” the mother said.

“I haven’t had much to do with Lucy. She always seemed reserved compared to the other nurses. She hasn’t really interacted with her parents.

Prosecutors said Letby attempted to kill Child I, first while working daytime shifts on 30 September, then again on night shifts on 12 and 13 October, before the child died on 23 October.

The girl’s mother said she was called in the middle of the night and told to get to hospital as soon as possible.

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When she arrived, she found Letby with Dr John Gibbs and another nurse, who had been desperately trying to revive her daughter for 20 minutes.

“I could see that every time they were pumping her stats would go up, but when they stopped she flattened out every time.

“I remember thinking they couldn’t keep doing this.”

Lucy Letby has denied the murder and attempted murder charges.  Photos / Facebook
Lucy Letby has denied the murder and attempted murder charges. Photos / Facebook

When they finally stopped, Letby and the other nurse asked if the mother would like to bathe her daughter’s body one last time.

“[Letby] she smiled and continued to tell how she had been present at the first bath and how [Child I] she had loved him.

“I wished he would stop talking. Finally she realized it and stopped. It wasn’t something we wanted to hear.

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“I remember Lucy packing [Child I’s] things to go home”.

The mother said she did not want an autopsy done, but Dr. Gibbs informed her because the death was unexpected, an examination was needed to clear the hospital of any blame.

In his opening statements to the case in October last year, Ben Myers KC said that the defense believed that Letby caused Child I no harm and rather that his health problems “may have been unavoidable given his extreme prematurity”.

Police opened an investigation into the deaths of the children at Countess of Chester Hospital in May 2017. Letby was arrested three times in connection with the deaths before being charged in November 2020.

The process continues.

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Lucy Letby murder trial: Nurse accused of killing children considered coming to New Zealand

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