A British nurse standing trial in connection with the deaths of eight babies has been accused of being a “poisoner”.

On Monday, Lucy Letby, 32, appeared at Manchester Crown Court in northwest England and pleaded not guilty to murdering five boys and two girls at the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and June 2016.

Letby also denied 10 other charges of attempted murder while caring for infants in the neonatal unit of the hospital, according to reports.

Speaking for the prosecution Monday, attorney Nick Johnson said that the child deaths at the hospital’s neo-natal unit were statistically comparable to other units in the U.K. before January 2015.

According to Johnson, this drastically changed over the next 18 months, during which the hospital witnessed a “significant rise in the number of babies who were dying and in the number of serious catastrophic collapses,”.

“It is a hospital like so many others in the U.K. but unlike many other hospitals in the U.K., and unlike many other neonatal units in the UK, within the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital a poisoner was at work,” he added, per the outlet.

Following an inquiry into the sudden spike in deaths and serious medical complications, Johnson said that hospital authorities discovered the presence of Letby to be a “common denominator”. He also claimed that this pattern continued when Letby was moved to different work hours.

The prosecutor continued that Letby poisoned the babies with insulin and cited the case of two boys born during the summer of 2015 and spring of 2016.

“Lucy Letby was on duty when both were poisoned and we allege she was the poisoner,” Johnson told the court.

“The collapses of all 17 children concerned were not ‘naturally occurring tragedies,'” Johnson continued. “They were all the work, we say, of the woman in the dock, who we say was the constant, malevolent presence when things took a turn for the worse for these 17 children.”

Letby was first arrested on suspicion of committing the crimes in 2018, according to a statement from the Cheshire Police Department.

She “was subsequently bailed pending further investigation,” added the release.

One year later she was rearrested “on suspicion of murder in relation to the deaths of 8 babies and the attempted murder of 6 babies,” as well as “the attempted murder of three additional babies,” Cheshire Police continued.

Letby’s trial is ongoing and may last up to six months.

Original Article