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A nurse who stood trial over the weekend for the murder of seven babies in the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital denied all charges relating to the attempt to kill 10 more babies by poisoning them. Lucy Letby, 32, has been accused of poisoning infants and sabotaging the treatment of several other babies over a 12-month period.

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According to court documents, Letby injected newborns with fatal doses of insulin as well as air or by giving them too much milk down their tubes while on duty during her night shifts. She would go about this when she knew the parents would not be around to see their newborns, with one infant victim succumbing to death 90 minutes after Letby came on shift. The baby, who also had a twin sister, was injected with air just 24 hours after being born. Letby also allegedly tried to kill the twin the next day, The Guardian reported.

At the Manchester Crown Court, Letby calmly pleaded not guilty to each of the 22 charges even as the court heard that she had attempted to kill one child three times on the same day. She faces seven charges of murder and 15 charges of attempted murder of 10 babies. The prosecution pointed out that the deaths and collapse of the babies were not accidental nor can be considered natural occurrences. At the same time, the deaths, which took place between June 2015 and June 2016, only had one common denominator which connected all 17 of the victims to Letby.

The babies were particularly premature and were receiving treatment in the intensive neonatal unit of the hospital. Letby allegedly killed a total of five boys and two girls including two identical twin brothers on consecutive days. The rise of neonatal deaths in the hospital alarmed hospital consultants leading them to think there was a “poisoner at work”.

Prosecutor Nick Johnson told the court that the mortality rate in the unit before 2015 was comparable to units in other hospitals. However, in the course of 18 months, the hospital recorded a significant rise in the number of infant deaths and serious catastrophic collapses of infants. The consultants noticed that the deaths occurred when Letby was on the night shift, but then the events moved with her when her duty was changed to a day shift.

Representation Image Military Nurse in Neo natal unit travisdmchenry/ Pixabay