Alleged baby killer Lucy Letby claimed today that a ‘gang of four’ consultants conspired to ‘get her’ over for deaths on a neonatal unit so they could cover up failings at the hospital.
Letby, 33, said that two doctors in particular had decided she was responsible and had then tried to have her removed from the unit.
She named them as Stephen Brearey, the leading paediatric consultant at the Countess of Chester Hospital, and one of his senior colleagues, the TV doctor Ravi Jayaram.
She said that they had been joined in a ‘conspiracy’ against her by consultant John Gibbs and a woman doctor who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Nick Johnson KC, prosecuting, had taken Letby through a list of 19 doctors who had been involved in the care of the seven babies she is alleged to have murdered and ten more she is said to have tried to kill.
Court sketch of Nicholas Johnson KC cross-examining nurse Lucy Letby, as she appears in the dock at Manchester Crown Court where she is charged with the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of another ten
Alleged baby killer Lucy Letby (pictured) claimed today that a ‘gang of four’ consultants conspired to ‘get her’ over for deaths on a neonatal unit so they could cover up failings at the hospital
As each name was put to her, the neonatal nurse agreed that she had no issue with the doctor in question. In some instances she agreed they bore her no ill, in others that they held no grudge against her.
But when the prosecutor came to Dr Brearey she said she put him ‘in the same category’ as his colleague Dr Jayaram. ‘At the time I was working on the unit I didn’t have a problem with Steve. It came afterwards’.
She had since come to view him in the same light as Dr Jayaram ‘because of the things they were saying about me.
‘They had been making comments that I was responsible for the deaths of babies, and they were very insistent that I was removed from the unit’.
Mr Johnson asked: ‘Are you suggesting that there was some sort of agreement between any of the medical staff who have given evidence in this case to get you?’
Letby replied: ‘In the consultant group, yes’.
When she named the medics she was accusing, Mr Johnson suggested: ‘So the Gang of Four?’
‘Yes,’ she said.
Asked what the conspiracy was, she said: ‘That they apportion blame on to me… I believe to cover up failings at the hospital’.
The list of doctors put to Letby included the male registrar she is said to have flirted with.
When she agreed she had no problem with him, Mr Johnson asked: ‘Were you in love with him?’
Letby replied: ‘I loved (first name) as a friend. I was not in love with him’.
Later the nurse was asked about the allegation that she murdered Baby A, a boy, on June 8, 2015.
She said that if the cause of death was established as air embolism then that would have been caused by the person connecting the fluids, ‘which wasn’t me’.
Asked whether she agreed that Baby E had been poisoned with insulin, she said: ‘Yes, I agree that he had insulin’.
Mr Johnson asked: ‘Do you believe that somebody gave it to him unlawfully?’
‘Yes’, she said. She did not know where the insulin had come from and denied causing the infant any harm.
She gave similar answers in the case of Baby L, the other infant she is said to have attacked with insulin. In his case she faces a charge of attempted murder.
She added: ‘I don’t believe that any member of staff on the unit would make a mistake in giving insulin’.
Ms Letby said she did not know ‘where the insulin came from’ and denied causing the baby any harm.
‘Insulin has been added by somebody, but I can’t comment on when and by who. But not me’.
Ms Letby also agreed that Child L was poisoned with insulin.
‘I don’t know how the insulin got there’, she said. She added: ‘I didn’t put it in. I don’t believe that any member of staff on the unit would make a mistake in giving insulin.’
Earlier, Letby denied getting ‘a bit of a thrill’ from taking a photograph of a sympathy card she had written for the parents of Baby I – a little girl she is alleged to have finally murdered at the fourth attempt.
Mr Johnson put it to her: ‘You took a picture of a card, addressed to the parents of a child who had died in dreadful circumstances, at the place where she died.’
Letby said: ‘The place is insignificant. My usual behaviour is to photograph things that I send or receive.’
Mr Johnson asked: ‘Did it give you a bit of a thrill to photograph it at the place where this poor unfortunate child died?’
Letby replied: ‘Absolutely not.’
The court has heard that a blood gas reading relating to Baby M had been among numerous hospital sheets found at Letby’s home.
Letby claimed doctors had been joined in a ‘conspiracy’ against her by consultant John Gibbs and a woman doctor who cannot be named for legal reasons
Mr Johnson reminded the alleged killer that a fellow nurse who had taken the measurement said in evidence that she would have disposed of the printout in the unit’s confidential waste bin.
He then asked: ‘When did you fish it out of the bin?’
Letby replied: ‘I never fished anything out of the confidential bin.’
Mr Johnson asked how she had got it, and she said: ‘I can’t recall specifically’.
The barrister then suggested: ‘It was for your little collection, wasn’t it Lucy Letby?’
‘No,’ she replied.
Mr Johnson suggested that Letby was the only ‘common feature’ in the collapses of Baby A to Baby Q and therefore had to be the person responsible for harming them.
He said: ‘Do you agree that if certain combinations of these children were attacked, then unless there was more than one person attacking them, you have to be the attacker?’
Letby replied: ‘No, I have not attacked anyone.’
Mr Johnson continued: ‘If the jury conclude that a certain combination were actually attacked by someone, then the shift pattern gives us the answer, who the attacker was?’
Letby replied: ‘No, I don’t agree. Just because I was on shift doesn’t mean I have done anything.’
Mr Johnson said: ‘If the jury conclude, let’s say, that babies five, eight, 10 and 12, were all attacked, you are the only common feature, it would have to be, you are the attacker?’
Letby replied: ‘That’s for them to decide.’
Letby, originally from Hereford, is on trial at Manchester Crown Court. She denies all the charges against her.