Colleague ‘surprised at baby’s turn for the worse’, Lucy Letby trial is told

The defendant is accused of overfeeding the baby with milk through a nasogastric tube (NGT) and/or injecting air into the tube.

Lucy Letby in the dock at Manchester Crown Court
Lucy Letby in the dock at Manchester Crown Court

A nurse was surprised to return from her break to find a baby in her care was unwell, the Lucy Letby murder trial has been told.

Letby, 32, allegedly tried to murder the youngster hours after she helped put up a party banner at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit to celebrate the girl turning 100 days old.

The defendant is accused of overfeeding the baby with milk through a nasogastric tube (NGT) and/or injecting air into the tube.

Prosecutors say she struck after 2am on September 7 2015 while a colleague designated to look after the infant, referred to as Child G, was on an hour-long break.

The colleague, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said the baby’s observations were stable when she left the high dependency unit after feeding her 45ml breast milk via the NGT.

On her return, the youngster was not in the room and had been moved to the intensive care unit as fellow staff gathered around her cot, she said.

She told Manchester Crown Court: “If I was concerned, I wouldn’t have gone on my break. For example, if she looked unwell, or her monitor was alarming, or if she hadn’t tolerated her feed, or woke up upset.

“I was told she had been unwell while I had gone on my break.”

Simon Driver, prosecuting, asked: “Was that development expected or unexpected?”

A prison van carrying Lucy Letby arrives at Chester Crown Court
A prison van carrying Lucy Letby arrives at Chester Crown Court (PA)

She replied: “It was unexpected.”

Mr Driver asked: “Why?”

The witness said: “Because she was fed and settled when I left her and there had not been any observations on her chart which caused me any concern.”

Jurors have been told Letby went on to take over the care of Child G, who deteriorated later in the shift as her oxygen levels dipped and her breathing stopped periodically.

The witness told Ben Myers KC, defending, she was not trained in intensive care so her duties on the night would have been appropriately passed to Letby.

Shift leader Ailsa Simpson said she was with Letby at the nursing station – directly opposite the high dependency unit – when she heard a projectile vomit at 2.15am.

Both rushed into the room where Miss Simpson said she was greeted by alarms sounding from the monitor connected to Child G’s cot.

She said she “sat up” the youngster and that either she or Letby then used a facemask to assist with Child G’s breathing.

She said: “It was a large, milky digested vomit. It had gone from over the cot and on to a chair next to her.”

Prosecutors say the defendant made two more attempts to murder Child G on September 21.

Letby, originally from Hereford, denies murdering seven babies and trying to murder 10 others between June 2015 and June 2016.

The trial continues on Monday.

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