Lucy Letby trial: nurse described newborns’ deaths as ‘sad and cruel’

Defendant accused of murdering seven babies told colleague it was ‘all a bit much’ after two deaths within week

Letby is accused of multiple murders and attempted murders between June 2015 and June 2016. Photograph: Elizabeth Cook/PA

A nurse accused of murdering seven babies and attempting to kill 10 others told a colleague it was “all a bit much” after two newborns died in a week, a court has heard.

Lucy Letby, 32, is accused of killing a premature baby, known as Child C, days after killing Child A and attempting to murder his twin sister, Child B, in June 2015.

Her trial at Manchester crown court has heard how the condition of Child C, who weighed 800g (1lb 12oz), collapsed while Letby was on a night shift and died just before 6am on 14 June.

On Thursday, the jury was shown messages Letby sent to friends after finishing her shift that morning.

Lucy Letby has denied the wave of killings that have haunted the Chester community

In a message to her colleague Jennifer Jones-Key, she said: “Sorry if I was off, just wasn’t a great start to the shift but sadly it got worse.”

She went on to say: “I was struggling to accept what happened to [Child A]. Now we’ve lost [Child C] overnight and it’s all a bit much.”

She described the death as “so sad and cruel” and told Jones-Key: “I just keep seeing them both. No one should have to see and do the things we do. It’s heartbreaking.”

She added: “It’s not about me or anyone else, it’s those poor parents who have to walk away without their baby. It’s so unbelievably sad.”

Letby also messaged her mother, Susan, that morning and said: “We lost a little one overnight. Very unexpected and sad.”

She told her mother the baby weighed only 800g and was being looked after by a “new girl”, Sophie Ellis, who was “devastated”. Susan Letby replied: “We are so proud of you, love you.”

Letby later messaged Ellis and told her: “We are a good team and we’ll get through. You did so, so well.”

The jury was told that, later that month, another baby, Child D, died on the unit.

On 30 June, Letby and a colleague exchanged messages about the condition of Child B.

Her colleague said: “There’s something odd about that night and the other three that went so suddenly.” Letby replied: “What do you mean?”

She added: “Well [Child C] was tiny obviously compromised in utero, [Child D] septic. It’s [Child A] I can’t get my head around.”

Letby, originally from Hereford, denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of 10 others at the Countess of Chester hospital between June 2015 and June 2016.

The trial continues.

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