Medical expert gives evidence at trial of nurse accused of murdering seven babies

The jury in the trial of a nurse accused of murdering seven babies and trying to kill 10 more have heard from an independent medical expert.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Dewi Evans dealt with general background matters relating to neonatal care in the NHS and explanations of medical terms, during evidence on the fifth day of the trial of nurse Lucy Letby.

Evidence directly related to the 17 children allegedly harmed by Letby will be heard later in the trial, with Dr Evans being an expert witness.

Letby, 32, denies attacking newborn children in a variety of ways, including poisoning, during an alleged killing spree on the neonatal unit at Countess of Chester Hospital (pictured) between June 2015 and June 2016.

On Friday, jurors initially received a tutorial on how to use iPads on which much of the evidence will be loaded digitally, in place of paper files.

The eight women and four men of the jury were also shown a “walk through” video of the neonatal unit at Chester as it was when Letby worked there.

Dr Evans, the first witness called in the trial which is expected to last up to six months, said he began working in paediatrics 40 years ago and had worked in neonatal units in Swansea, Cardiff and Liverpool and had developed neonatal services in south Wales in the 70s and 80s when it was an emerging discipline of medicine.

He told the jury about the evolution of such care to the present day, a process he described as “not of reading books, very much hands-on”

He added: “In the 70s babies who were small and ill died. There was very little care available.”

Dr Evans also gave explanations to the jury of medical terms which have been heard during the start of the trial.

He also commented on a series of short videos demonstrating medical equipment and procedures relating to neonatal care.

On Thursday, the jury heard that on a Post-it note found at Letby’s home after her arrest she had written, “I am evil I did this”.

Ben Myers KC, defending Letby, told the jury the note was an “anguished outpouring of a young woman in fear” and the defendant was in fact a dedicated nurse who is “adamant” she never harmed any babies.

“Anyone who approaches this as some kind of a done deal has got this very badly wrong,” Mr Myers said.

A court order prohibits reporting of the identities of surviving and dead children allegedly attacked by Letby, and prohibits identifying parents or witnesses connected with the children.

Letby, originally from Hereford, denies all the allegations.

The trial was adjourned until Monday morning.

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