Lucy Letby: Baby ‘murdered by nurse’ suffered liver injury akin to road traffic collision
As the trial continues, Yahoo News UK sets out who Letby is, her background and what she has been charged with.
A baby boy who was allegedly murdered by nurse Lucy Letby suffered a liver injury that was akin to a road traffic collision, her trial has heard.
The 33-year-old nurse is said to have attacked the new-born infant on a day shift on 23 June, 2016 at the Countess of Chester’s neonatal unit – following her return from a holiday to Ibiza.
Child O was born in good condition, Manchester Crown Court heard, until he suddenly collapsed two days later in the care of Letby and went progressively downhill as medics failed to revive him.
On Wednesday, paediatric pathologist Dr Andreas Marnerides said Child O died partly due to an “impact-type” internal liver injury – discovered after the baby’s death.
Jurors were shown post-mortem examination photographs which showed two separate sites of bruising, as well as areas of a blood clot.
Dr Marnerides, who practises at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital, explained the photograph showed “extensive haemorrhaging into the liver”, which he had only seen previously in a road traffic collision and in non-accidental assaults from parents or carers.
He added: “I cannot convince myself that in the setting of a neonatal unit this would be a reasonable proposition to explain this. I don’t think CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] can produce this extensive injury to a liver.”
Asked what he believed to be the cause of death, Marnerides said: “In my view, the cause of death was inflicted traumatic injury to the liver, profound gastric and intestinal distension following acute excessive injection/infusion of air via a nasogastric tube and air embolism due to administration into a venous line.”
The prosecution say that Letby murdered Child P, one of Child O’s triplet brothers, on the following day shift.
Letby denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of 10 others between June 2015 and June 2016, while she was working as a neonatal nurse.
Latest updates on the Lucy Letby trial:
Doctor ‘shocked’ as Lucy Letby asked if baby was ‘leaving here alive’ (Hereford Times, 2 min)
Nurse fainted after she and fellow medics couldn't revive baby, court told (Sky News, 2 min)
Lucy Letby ‘tried to murder baby after bid to remove her from duties refused’ (Hereford Times, 4 min)
Parents of triplets ‘begged for baby to be moved to new hospital after brothers died’ (Independent, 2 min)
Nurse tried to murder baby within two hours of her birth, trial hears (Sky News, 2 min)
Who is Lucy Letby and where is she from?
Letby's address has been given in court as Arran Avenue, Hereford, but the 33-year-old is known to have lived in the Blacon area of Chester.
She worked at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit.
In a 2013 interview with the Chester and District Standard newspaper, the nurse said she cared for babies requiring various levels of support.
She had worked at the unit as a student nurse during three years of training before qualifying as a children's nurse at the University of Chester in 2011.
Letby said she started working at the unit after graduating.
When was Lucy Letby arrested and what is she charged with?
Letby was arrested three times over the space of two years during an investigation into baby deaths at the Countess of Chester Hospital's neonatal unit.
The first arrest was in July 2018, on suspicion of the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of six babies. She was bailed.
Letby was then rearrested in June 2019, again on suspicion of the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of six babies. This time, she was also arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of three additional babies. She was bailed.
Finally, in November 2020, Letby was rearrested on suspicion of the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of nine babies.
One day later, police charged Letby with eight counts of murder and 10 of attempted murder. The charges related to a period between June 2015 and June 2016.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges at a hearing at Manchester Crown Court in October 2021.
In June last year, Letby had one not guilty verdict recorded for one of the murder charges.
It meant that when she went on trial in October last year, she faced seven murder charges (five boys and two girls) and 10 attempted murder charges (five boys and five girls).
Letby denies the alleged offences.