‘Lucy Letby could have killed our babies. We escaped’: Parents who returned home with their newborns as nurse murdered babies around them speak out about their ‘lucky escapes’
- You can watch the Mail’s documentary The Trial of Lucy Letby here
A mother whose baby boy was on the neo-natal unit during Lucy Letby’s murderous spree said she felt ‘lucky but guilty’ that they took their son home when ‘other families didn’t.’
The 35-year-old, who asked not to be named, told the Mail she had a ‘traumatic’ labour and her son was born not breathing in September 2015.
He spent four days in intensive care and – although Letby was never his allocated nurse – she was often seen in his nursery.
The mother, who works in retail, told the Mail she and her husband, 42, were interviewed by police, who told her Letby had attacked other babies in the days before and after their son was admitted.
Letby was convicted of trying to murder two different baby girls, on five separate occasions in September 2015.
Felicity Whitfield was baptised as an emergency after suffering a sudden lung collapse on the neo-natal unit. She recovered after being transferred to another hospital
Between June 2015 and June 2016 Letby murdered five boys and two girls
‘I still feel guilty about that – lucky that nothing happened to him but also guilty,’ the mother said.
Parents of twins relive moment nurse tried to murder them
A couple whose twin sons survived Lucy Letby’s sadistic attempts to kill them says she was ‘annoyed’ at her failure as they demanded a public inquiry into why hospital bosses left their newborns at her mercy.
They recalled feeling ‘over the moon’ at having two healthy twins as their first children. Ironically, Letby had been present at their birth. His parents travelled up from London to see the boys and were able to hold them.
Then came the nightmare of Baby M’s collapse on April 9, 2016. ‘Everything was going well,’ said the father. ‘Then within 15 minutes a nurse came charging upstairs shouting ”You need to come back down”. ‘That morning I had been giggling with my kids and they were very healthy in their cots, then that happened.
‘Nothing happened to our child, thank God, but it could have done.
‘We were lucky, we got to take our baby home. Lots of other families didn’t.’
She said she recognised Letby immediately after she was arrested when her picture appeared in newspapers and on television.
‘All we know from the police is that she shouldn’t have been in his room,’ she added.
‘Apparently Letby wasn’t supposed to be looking after him, but she was in there. That’s all we know. When I went to see him, she was there.
‘She said hello, but we didn’t really have a conversation. My husband remembers she just smiled.
‘It’s been really traumatic, reading the court stuff and knowing that she tried to kill babies on the days either side (of when he was born). Following the case has brought it all flooding back.’
The mother, of Chester, said she was furious with hospital staff who allowed Letby to continue working unchecked after suspicions about her arose.
‘I’m angry that people seemed to know about it and nothing was done,’ she added.
‘The hospital must have known something was going on – that something wasn’t right. It carried on for so long.
A corridor within the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit, where Letby worked
‘The whole birth experience for me was awful. There was negligence, they were understaffed.
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‘I waited seven days to be induced – 11 and a half days after he was due. I ended up having an emergency C-section and was put to sleep, so I didn’t see my baby be born. It was very traumatic.
‘My son was born not breathing and was ill. I was ill. I developed an infection from the C-section. I wasn’t getting medication, cannulas were misrouted. It was horrendous.
‘Because of what happened my husband and I waited six years to have another baby.’
Another couple, whose premature baby girl suffered a catastrophic collapse three days after being born at the Countess, in November 2013, have also called for the police to examine their daughter’s case.
Mike and Vicky Whitfield said there was ‘reason and rationale’ to go back before June 2015. Police have confirmed they plan to look at the entire ‘footprint’ of Letby’s career, which dates back to her training in 2011.
Their daughter, Felicity, was baptised as an emergency after suffering a sudden lung collapse on the neo-natal unit. She recovered after being transferred to another hospital and is now a healthy nine-year-old.
Mr Whitfield, 43, of Chester, said: ‘We believe there’s reason and rationale to look beyond 2015, they (the police) will go back.
‘We believe it’s been going on since 2010. You don’t go from none to this, there’s a build-up.’
Felicity Whitfield was born prematurely in November 2013 and almost died
Another mother whose son was looked after by Letby for eight weeks after being born 10 weeks early at the Countess, also told the Mail she was ‘knocked sick’ when Letby was arrested.
‘She was really lovely to us,’ the 50-year-old said. ‘When I heard the news it knocked me sick. It makes you think what if anything had happened to him.’
READ MORE: ‘My mother’s instinct told me to check on my daughter. I saw Lucy Letby standing by my baby’s cot, then all hell let loose’: Parents believe their daughter was one of killer nurse’s first victims
Another mother of a premature baby boy, whose ventilation tube ended up blocked while under the care of Letby in 2012, not long after she had qualified, also said she and her husband felt they’d had a ‘lucky escape.’
The 41-year-old told the Mail: ‘As soon as I saw the pictures of the nurse in the newspapers I recognised her as the woman who looked after my son.
‘She cared for him on a one-on-one basis for most of the eight weeks that we were in the hospital – and during that time he suffered a collapsed lung and then a blocked ventilation tube.
‘Even though our son was very premature, the doctors said right from the start that he had a good set of lungs.
‘We couldn’t understand what was going on (when the baby fell ill) and when we asked her (Letby) how the tube had ended up blocked she replied, ‘It just happens sometimes’.
‘We feel like we have had a lucky escape. Looking back, it seems a little surprising that such a newly qualified member of staff could be left to give one-on-one care to premature babies, but we didn’t have any particular concerns at the time.
‘Lucy Letby seemed a little reserved, but there were no alarm bells ringing over the care she was giving. We just thought she was a very career-driven person.’
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