23 November 2022

Accused’s nursing colleagues deny administering insulin to baby boy

23 November 2022

Three nurses have denied they gave insulin to a baby boy allegedly poisoned by their colleague Lucy Letby, a court has heard.

Each gave evidence on Wednesday about their involvement in the care of the premature-born twin at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neo-natal unit.

Nurses Shelley Tomlins, Sophie Ellis and Belinda Williamson were on duty in August 2015 in the days that followed the infant’s birth.

It is the Crown’s case that Letby, 32, attempted to murder the youngster, referred to as Child F, by intentionally administering insulin shortly after midnight on August 4 2015.

Jurors at Manchester Crown Court have heard Child F’s heart rate surged and his blood glucose levels dropped dangerously low after he received a new intravenous feed including nutrients and sugar.

His glucose levels remained low on the day shift of August 5 even after the intravenous line, and a connected bag containing nutrients, needed to be replaced after swelling to Child F’s leg.

Child F’s blood glucose rose to safe levels later that evening after the nutrients were stopped and extra sugar was given independently, the court was told.

He went on to make a full recovery and was later discharged.

Ms Tomlins, who worked on the day shifts of August 4 and 5, said stock nutrient bags would be kept in a padlocked fridge in the neo-natal unit.

The nursing shift leader would hold a bunch of keys for the fridge and for locked cupboards containing medication but they would be passed around the nurses with no log of access, she said.

At the end of his questioning Philip Astbury asked her: “Did you at any point in time administer insulin to (Child F)?”

Giving evidence from Australia via videolink, the witness replied: “No.”

Mr Astbury repeated the question to Ms Ellis, giving evidence from behind a screen, who worked with Letby on the night shift of August 4.

Ms Ellis replied: “Absolutely not.”

Finally Mr Astbury asked Ms Williamson, the shift leader on the night of August 4: “Did you during the course of the shift, at any stage, administer (Child F) any insulin?”

“No,” said Ms Williamson.

Letby is accused of attempting to murder Child F less than 24 hours after she allegedly murdered his twin brother, Child E, by injecting air into his bloodstream.

The defendant, originally from Hereford, denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of 10 others between June 2015 and June 2016.

The trial continues on Thursday.

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