Lucy Letby told parents in handwritten sympathy card she would ‘never forget’ their baby
The nurse accused of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder 10 others took a picture of a sympathy card for the parents of one alleged victim just hours before her funeral, a court has heard.
Jurors in the trial of Lucy Letby were shown the handwritten sympathy card she gave to the grieving family of an infant referred to as Baby I, whom she is accused of killing on her fourth attempt in October 2015.
The 33-year-old, who worked on the neonatal ward at the Countess of Chester hospital, took a picture of the card on her phone before sending it, Manchester Crown Court heard.
It said: “There are no words to make this time any easier. It was a real priviledge (sic) to care for (Baby I) + get to know you as a family – a family who always put (Baby I) first and did everything possible for her.
“She will always be a part of your lives + we will never forget her. Thinking of you today and always – sorry I cannot be there to say goodbye.
“Lots of love, Lucy X”
Ms Letby denies carrying out 22 attacks on 17 babies between June 2016 and June 2018, including seven counts of murder.
Baby I’s funeral took place on November 10 2015 – 18 days after the neonatal nurse made what the prosecution allege was her fourth and final attempt on the infant’s life.
The jury has previously heard how Ms Letby offered to take photos of Baby I moments after her death on October 23 2015.
Her parents were initially left alone with her but then Ms Letby and another nurse came in and asked the parents if they wanted to bathe the infant.
The mother told the court: “My husband initially said no, but I worried that I’d regret it later so I said yes. Lucy brought the bath in and offered to take some photos that we would be able to keep.
“She was smiling and kept going on about how she was present at (Baby) I’s first bath, and how much she’d loved it.
“I wished she’d just stop talking. I think eventually she realised. It wasn’t something we wanted to hear just then.”
She added: “I remember it was Lucy who packaged up I’s belongings for us to take”.
The prosecution alleges that Ms Letby made an initial attempt to murder Baby I on September 30, three days after she is said to have tried to kill Baby H and a week or so after making two attempts on the life of Baby G. Both those infants survived.
She tried again on October 12 and 14 before finally succeeding in an attack launched on October 22.
Nick Johnson KC, prosecuting, has told the jury that the case of Baby I “is an extreme example even by the standards of this case”.
It is alleged Ms Letby killed the “resilient” baby by injecting a large amount of air into her bloodstream.
Baby I was born at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital on August 7, 2015, at a gestational age of 27 weeks, weighing only 2lb 2oz (970 grams) but in good condition and did well from the beginning.
As she continued to thrive, staff decided she could be transferred to the neonatal unit in Chester. In the final weeks of her life, she was transferred back and forth between the Countess of Chester Hospital and Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral.
Mr Johnson told the jury at the start of the trial: “(Baby I) was born very early and very small. But she survived the first two months of her life and was doing well by the time Lucy Letby got her hands on her.
“What happened to (Baby I) followed the pattern of what had happened to others before, and what was yet to happen to others. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, came vomiting, breathing problems and critical desaturations”.
In her final, successful attempt on the baby’s life, she pumped her with air when Baby I’s designated nurse was away from her.
That nurse returned in response to the alarm and found Ms Letby standing over the baby.
“It was persistent, calculated and cold-blooded,” said Mr Johnson.
The trial continues.