A “poisoner was at work” at a hospital where there was a “significant rise” in the number of healthy babies dying, a court has heard.
Lucy Letby has been accused of murdering five baby boys and two girls, and attempting to murder of 10 other babies at Countess of Chester hospital.
Nick Johnson KC, prosecuting, said she was a “constant malevolent presence” in the hospital’s neonatal unit.
Ms Letby, 32, of Hereford, denies 22 charges at Manchester Crown Court.
Opening the prosecution case, Mr Johnson said the Chester institution was a “busy general hospital… like so many others in the UK”.
However, he said that “unlike many other hospitals… within the neo-natal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital, a poisoner was at work”.
“Prior to January 2015, the statistics for the mortality of babies in the neo-natal unit at the Countess of Chester were comparable to other like units,” he said.
“However, over the next 18 months or so, there was a significant rise in the number of babies…