Josh Halliday North of England correspondent
Fri, 5 May 2023 at 1:03 pm BST
Lucy Letby has told her trial she was “stunned” by the death of a one-day-old twin boy she allegedly murdered around 30 minutes into her shift, saying it was a “complete shock”.
Giving evidence for a second day at Manchester crown court, the nurse said she searched for the boy’s mother on Facebook the morning after his death out of “curiosity”.
“To walk into the unit that evening and the first time to have met those parents, be in that awful situation – I think it was just curiosity to see the people behind that awful event that had happened,” she told the jury.
Letby, now 33, is alleged to have murdered the boy, who can only be named as Child A, and attempting to kill his twin sister, Child B, by injecting air into their bloodstreams while working night shifts at the Countess of Chester hospital’s neo-natal unit in June 2015.
She denies both counts, as well as the murder of six other babies and attempted murder of nine other infants between June 2015 and June 2016.
The prosecution alleges that Letby murdered Child A, who was born six weeks premature, just 30 minutes into her shift. He died within 90 minutes of Letby coming on duty, the jury has been told.
The nurse, giving evidence beside two prison officers, said she had been “just stunned” when he suddenly deteriorated after being healthy and stable earlier in the day.
“It was complete shock for all of us. It felt like we walked through the door into this awful situation,” she said.
“It was the first time I’d met [Child A], the first time I’d met his parents. It was a huge shock.”
Under questioning from her barrister, Benjamin Myers KC, the defendant said of her search for Child A’s mother on Facebook the morning after his death: “I think it was just curiosity. They were on my mind.”
She added: “It’s a normal pattern of behaviour to me. If I think of somebody I would look them up. [Child A] and [Child B] were on my mind quite a bit at that time.”
Asked by Myers what impact Child A’s death had had on her, Letby told the jury: “It’s awful and obviously that day I wasn’t even supposed to be working that night.
“It was just such a shock to walk into that situation. You never forget something like that.”
At one point, Letby stopped part way through an answer when she appeared to be startled by a noise in the packed courtroom.
Myers noted that she had been distracted and asked whether she was able to continue. “Yeah, I’m very easily distracted,” said Letby, looking around the room.
“Have you always been like that?” asked Myers. “No,” she replied.
Letby told jurors earlier this week that she was “easily startled” by unexpected noises as a result of the post-traumatic stress she suffers after her arrest.
The trial continues.