21 March 2023

Nurse Lucy Letby found caring for less poorly infants ‘boring’, trial hears

21 March 2023

Nurse Lucy Letby found caring for less sick infants in hospital was “boring”, her murder trial was told.

Letby, 33, is accused of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder 10 others at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neo-natal unit.

She is also said to have argued with a senior colleague when asked to work in an ‘outside nursery’ where babies were treated in preparation for going home.

The unit was split into four rooms – intensive care in nursery one, high dependency care in nursery two and the ‘outside nurseries’ of rooms three and four, Manchester Crown Court has heard.

She said it was boring and she didn’t want to feed babies. She wanted to be in the intensive care

On Tuesday, senior nurse Kathryn Percival-Calderbank told jurors that Letby was “unhappy” if she was allocated shifts in either room three or four.

She said: “She expressed that she was unhappy at being put in the outside nurseries.

“She said it was boring and she didn’t want to feed babies. She wanted to be in the intensive care”.

Mrs Percival-Calderbank, who qualified as a nurse in 1988, added: “If anything was going on within nursery one you would find she would migrate there, as we would all do to go and help. She would definitely end up in nursery one to assist.

“It was more that we were worried for Lucy’s mental heath because it can be upsetting, emotional and sometimes exhausting as well at the end of a shift, if you’re constantly put in that stressed situation all the time.

“Sometimes you’ve got to come out of that environment and be in an outside nursery.”

She recalled an argument – some time before June 2016 – with Letby who was “upset” at a shift allocation.

“Lucy went into the outside nursery but she was not happy with the decision,” she said.

Ben Myers KC, defending, asked the witness: “Is it right she made it plain that she preferred to work in the intensive care aspect of operations?”

“Yes,” replied Mrs Percival-Calderbank.

Mr Myers said: “Did she use the word ‘boring’?”

The witness said: “Yes, that’s what she said.”

Mr Myers said: “There were times when she ended back in nursery one and everyone would be ready to help when there was an issue, wouldn’t they?”

“Yes,” said the witness.

Mrs Percival-Calderbank agreed with Mr Myers that Letby would be “particularly keen to assist” and “would be there very quickly if an issue arose”.

She also agreed the concern among nursing staff was it could be “very stressful and upsetting” to work long periods in intensive care and it was beneficial for mental wellbeing to spend time away from nursery one.

Mr Myers said: “But she didn’t really want to hear that and she wanted to do the intensive care, is that right?”

“Yes,” said the witness.

Letby, originally from Hereford, denies all the alleged offences said to have been committed between June 2015 and June 2016.

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