The police found that the NHS neonatal unit had a poisoner after there was a significant rise in healthy baby deaths. Meanwhile, a nurse who was being accused of seven murders and ten attempted killings was on duty.

Lucy Letby was described as a ‘constant malevolent presence’ at the Countess of Chester Hospital in Cheshire who allegedly killed and injured many premature children – including twins – on night shifts because parents were less likely to be there.

Nick Johnson KC was the one opening the prosecution. He stated that Letby ‘deliberately used insulin to poison’ two infants – referred as Child F or Child L in legal terms – had ‘poisoned and poisoned them’. Each of the twins was attacked separately eight months apart. 

“Babies that were not unstable suddenly became severely depressed,” he said. Sometimes, babies that had previously been in serious health problems would suddenly become ill and go on to be healthy again. Consultants searched hard for the cause but were unsuccessful. They discovered that the causes of the unfathomable deaths and collapses had one common factor. One of the neonatal nurses was present. Lucy Letby, the neonatal nurse. 

During the time Letby worked on the night shift, there was a rise in babies dying or falling seriously ill, Manchester Crown Court was told, and then when she moved to the day shift there were more ‘inexplicable collapses and deaths’.

Letby (32), allegedly attempted to kill a baby girl three more times, and one boy three times, including twice in one day.

Mr Johnson said Letby, 32, as a ‘constant malevolent present’ at the ‘closely restricted’ Chester neonatal unit, which saw a ‘significant rise’ in the number of babies dying, and serious or catastrophic collapses while she was working there, it is alleged.

He said, “It’s a hospital just like many others in UK, but unlike many hospitals in UK and unlike many other neonatal units in UK. Within the Countess of Chester Hospital, a poisoner had been at work.”

Lucy Letby sketched in the dock at Manchester Crown Court where she is charged with the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of another ten, between June 2015 and June 2016 while working on the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital

Lucy Letby is sketched at Manchester Crown Court. Lucy was charged with murdering seven infants and trying to kill another ten between June 2015 and June 2016, while she worked on the neonatal section of the Countess of Chester Hospital.

Children’s nurse Lucy Letby (pictured) appeared in court today accused of multiple baby murders

Children’s nurse Lucy Letby (pictured) appeared in court today accused of multiple baby murders

Today, seven infant murders were committed by Lucy Letby, a children’s nurse.

Manchester Crown Court brought her to the dock wearing a dark suit and black blouse.  She faces 22 charges relating to 17 infants, which she has allegedly tried multiple times. Each charge was dropped by her plea.

Judge urges jurors to show compassion in case that could trigger an instinctive fear reaction.

Judge Justice Goss told jurors in a deposition that all charges were related to babies.

You should express any anxiety you have concerning your jurors role in this case. There will be some anxiety about the future, but it should not affect the nature and role of your jury.

Juries from across the country were also trying to resolve very important cases. The details would be revealed to them soon.

“The judge said that this case would trigger an instinctive fear reaction. This is one of the human characteristics.

“While you retain your understanding and knowledge of human behavior, it is important to put aside your emotions and think rationally, honestly, fairly, and impartially about the evidence.”

Johnson explained that statistics regarding the mortality of newborns at Chester’s Neonatal Unit were similar to data from other units.

“However, over the following 18 months there was an increase in babies dying and severe catastrophic collapses.

“These rises were observed by the consultants at The Countess of Chester who searched for a reason.

The parents were worried that the babies were not responding to medical treatment that could have prevented their deaths.

The collapses were a’misunderstanding of what the doctors are used to’, he said.

The family members of the alleged victims were present in the public gallery to listen as the names of their children (which cannot be identified legally) were read. 

Three members of security staff surrounded her as stood up to enter her pleas as her parents John and Susan watched on. Her trial, which is due to begin this afternoon,  will last up to six months. 

Letby, 32 years old, silently repeated “Not guilty” as she was being read each charge by the Manchester Crown Court clerk.

Standing still on the dock with Court 7’s glass panels, her hair was now darker and fell over her shoulders.

To hear the case, fourteen jurors had to be sworn. Two of the jurors will serve as substitutes for the prosecution’s opening. After that, the jury will consist of 12 people.

The indictment states that she attempted to murder one baby girl three more times, and another two times. And she tried to claim the life of a baby boy on three separate occasions – two of them on the same day.

Letby is facing 15 additional charges for attempted murder in connection to the care of 10 preterm babies at the neonatal unit.

John and Susan Letby, parents of Lucy Letby, are at Manchester Crown Court for their daughter's murder trial (pictured last week)

John and Susan Letby (parents of Lucy Letby) are in Manchester Crown Court to witness their daughter’s murder trial.

The 12-month span between June 2015 to June 2016 was the time frame in which all of these alleged murders or attempted murders occurred.

John Letby, 76 and Susan, 62 watched while proceedings were transmitted to annexe courtsrooms, attended by the families and journalists.

The media cannot report the identity of the deceased or the infants who survived them, unless a court orders otherwise.

An order from the court prohibits the reporting of identities of children who are surviving or deceased and to identify parents and witnesses in connection with children.

Children will be known as Child A or Child Q.