Lucy Letby 'tried to murder baby after doctor wanted to take her off shift'

Lucy Letby allegedly attempted to kill a baby the day after a group of doctors was prevented from asking her not to come into work, a court has heard.

Dr Stephen Brearey, a senior paediatrician at the Countess of Chester Hospital, said he and his colleagues had raised concerns about the defendant with an executive but they were told not to remove her from her nursing duties.

Letby, 33, denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of 10 others between June 2015 and June 2016.

On Tuesday, Dr Brearey told Manchester Crown Court he had summoned staff for a debrief meeting following the deaths of two brothers.

The siblings were identified by the prosecution as Childs O and P, who they say were the 15th and 16th victims of the nurse.

Recalling Letby’s presence at the meeting for the court, Dr Brearey said: ‘I can remember suggesting to her she would need the weekend off to recover from the traumatic events.

‘She didn’t seem overly upset in the debrief, or upset at all, and she told me she was on shift the next day, which was a Saturday.

‘I was concerned about this because we had already expressed our concerns to senior management about the association with nurse Letby and the deaths we had seen on the unit.’

He told the court he phoned Karen Rees, who was the duty executive on call, after the meeting and explained he did not want Letby to return to work until the matter was investigated properly.

Dr Brearey said: ‘Karen Rees said “no” to that and that there was no evidence.

‘I put it to her was she happy to take responsibility for this decision in view of the fact that myself and my consultant colleagues all wouldn’t be happy with nurse Letby going to work the following day.

‘She responded she was happy to take that responsibility.’

The next day, June 25, Letby is accused of attempting to murder Child Q by injecting him with air.

Dr Brearey said further action was taken the following week after further conversations with executives.

Ben Myers KC, defending, asked: ‘If somebody hurt a baby on your unit and you believed you had the identity of the person responsible, you’d report it to the police wouldn’t you?’

Dr Brearey responded: ‘I think you are making it a bit more simplistic than it was. It was not something that anyone wanted to consider, that a member of staff is harming babies.

‘Actually, the senior nursing staff on the unit didn’t believe this could be true up until the point and beyond when the triplets (Child O and P) died.

‘None of us (the consultants) wanted to believe it either.

‘This all became very exceptional and it took a step back to think about it.’

The trial continues.

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