Lucy Letby told the mother of a distressed baby “trust me I’m a nurse”, her murder trial hears.
An alleged killer nurse was interrupted by the mother of one of her victims who paid her baby boy a visit at the neonatal unit, a court has heard.
Lucy Letby is accused of murdering five baby boys and two girls, and attempting to murder 10 other babies at Countess of Chester Hospital in 2015 and 2016.
Manchester Crown Court heard child E’s mother did not realise he was being attacked and was told by the nurse the blood from his mouth was due to a tube.
Ms Letby, 32, denies 22 charges.
The nurse, of Hereford, is accused of murdering child E and attempting to murder his twin, child F, the following day.
The court heard how the twins had been born prematurely and Ms Letby was the designated nurse for both boys.
One night, their mother, who was an inpatient on the postnatal ward, decided to visit her twin sons in the neonatal unit.
The jury was told the mother interrupted Ms Letby, who was in the process of attacking child E, but she did not realise this.
The court heard child E’s mother found her son acutely distressed and bleeding from his mouth.
Ms Letby attempted to reassure the mother that the blood was due to the tube irritating his throat, the court heard.
The jury was told Ms Letby said to the mother: “Trust me I’m a nurse.”
“We suggest she was fobbed off by Lucy Letby,” prosecutor Nick Johnson KC said.
The court heard the nurse urged the mother of child E to go back to the postnatal ward, which she did, but was so concerned that she phoned her husband.
The jury was told that Ms Letby later made a record on the nursing notes which was not true – about the time that the twins’ mum came to visit her sons.
Mr Johnson said: “We say that the nursing notes made by Lucy Letby are false, misleading and designed to cover her tracks.
“They fail to mention that child E was bleeding at 21:00 BST and they mention a meeting between his mum and a doctor that neither of them remember.”
The court heard child E was bleeding so heavily that one of the doctors said he had never encountered such a large bleed in a small baby.
Subsequent expert evidence established this would have represented a combined loss of more than 25% of child E’s blood volume, the court was told.
The jury heard after child E’s death his parents did not wish to have a post-mortem examination, the doctor on-call did not deem one necessary and the coroner’s office agreed.
“As subsequent reviews have established that was a big mistake,” Mr Johnson said.
The court heard Ms Letby took a “very unusual interest” in the parents of the twins, searching for them repeatedly on Facebook, including on Christmas Day in 2015.
The court also heard about child C and D’s alleged murders.
Ms Letby allegedly injected air into the stomach of the tiny, premature child C through a nose tube, causing his breathing and heart to stop.
The trial heard Ms Letby agreed she had been the only person in the room when child C collapsed and she was supposed to be looking after another, more poorly baby, in another room.
The court heard it was six days after she allegedly killed child A by injecting air into his bloodstream, and she later similarly attacked his twin sister, child B, causing her to collapse.
“You can now see there was a pattern emerging,” Mr Johnson said.
“Lucy Letby was the only person working on the night shift when child C died who had also been working on either of the shifts when child A died and his twin sister child B collapsed.”
Mr Johnson told the court Ms Letby’s method of attacking the babies in the neonatal unit was “beginning to develop”.
“She had injected air into the bloodstream of the first twins, child A and B, and varied this approach by injecting air into child C’s stomach via the nasogastric tube,” he said.
The court heard on the day child C died, Ms Letby searched for the infant’s parents on Facebook.
Mr Johnson also alleged Ms Letby murdered child D with an intentional injection of air.
The baby girl had an infection but was responding well to treatment until she deteriorated and collapsed three times, the court heard.
The child’s monitor alarm sounded on the third collapse and she could not be revived, the court heard.
At the time, three children had died and one had had a life-threatening episode in the neonatal unit and “only Lucy Letby was the constant presence”, the court was told.
Ms Letby sent “many messages” to friends in the wake of child D’s death and the preceding deaths and collapses in which she suggested they could all clearly be explained as natural causes.
The defendant later told police she could not explain why she had searched on Facebook for child D’s parents in the aftermath of her death.
The jury has been told the trial may last up to six months.