Nurse Lucy Letby tells murder trial that ‘raw sewage coming out of the sinks’ in hospital
Nurse Lucy Letby tells murder trial that ‘raw sewage coming out of the sinks’ in hospital neonatal unit may have been a contributing factor in deaths of babies she was caring for
- Lucy Letby said plumbing issues meant hospital was ‘not a safe environment’
Raw sewage could have been a contributing factor in the deaths of babies on a neonatal ward, a nurse accused of their murder told a court today.
Lucy Letby, 33, claimed that plumbing issues meant the intensive care unit for babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital ‘was not a safe working environment’.
She said effluent would sometimes come out of the sinks and spill on to the floor in one of the nurseries, she told Manchester Crown Court.
Letby denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of ten others in the neonatal unit between June 2015 and June 2016.
She is said to have targeted her fifth alleged victim, Child E, during a night shift in August 2015.
Lucy Letby, 33, claimed that plumbing issues meant the intensive care unit for babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital ‘was not a safe working environment’. She’s seen being cross examined in a court sketch last week
Letby is also accused of attempting to murder his twin brother, Child F, by poisoning him with insulin.
She has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against her.
Today, the nurse told prosecutor Nick Johnson KC that the plumbing issue was ‘an important thing to know’ when understanding the conditions in which her unit operated.
She has previously told the jury at Manchester Crown Court that there were issues with understaffing and on occasion the ‘wrong’ mix of skills among the nurses.
Later in today’s cross-examination, Letby – originally from Hereford – denied feeling ‘a cut above’ some of the other nurses on the unit.
However, she agreed with Mr Johnson that she was ‘always prepared to call out other people’s mistakes’ and ‘not afraid to confront the medical staff if you thought they’d got it wrong’.
She told him: ‘I was very confident in my clinical competencies.’
Letby denied having lied about the time the mother of Baby E and his twin, Baby F, came down to the unit with expressed milk on August 3, 2015.
She claims it was 10pm, while the mother said in evidence that it was 9pm – a timing that coincided with a scheduled feed for one of the boys.
The neonatal nurse said it was ‘an error’ on her part that she had failed to record in a medical chart that Baby E had vomited fresh blood at 10pm.
She denied an allegation that on other occasions she had persuaded other nurses to write entries into charts ‘to cover up what you were doing’.
Letby agreed that the twins’ mother had seen blood around Baby E’s mouth, but disagreed with her evidence about the timing.
Mr Johnson put it to her: ‘You’re not telling the truth about that, are you?’
‘Yes,’ said Letby.
Letby denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of ten others in the neonatal unit between June 2015 and June 2016
Mr Johnson said: ‘I suggest that when she came down at 10pm you’d inflicted an injury, and that he was screaming.’
Letby replied: ‘No, I don’t accept that.’
The barrister pressed her, saying: ‘You killed [Baby] E, didn’t you? You injected him with air.’
Letby denied the allegation.
Mr Johnson added: ‘Just as you had done with other babies?’
The defendant replied: ‘No.’
Letby agreed that in the months after Baby E’s death she had carried out a number of Facebook searches on his mother – including one at 11.26pm on Christmas Day.
But she denied being obsessed with her. She had simply wanted to ‘see how [Baby] F was doing’ since he had become well enough to go home.
The searches had not been carried out, she told Mr Johnson, so she could ‘see what reaction you’d get from this grieving family’.
The trial continues.