The parents of two triplet boys murdered by Lucy Letby on successive days have said the nurse has “destroyed their lives”.
Letby, 33, injected air into the bloodstream of Child O and also into his stomach through a nasogastric tube.
She also administered air into the stomach of his brother, Child P, and inflicted physical trauma of some kind to the livers of both boys.
The deaths in June 2016 were the “tipping point” for consultants who suspected Letby was to blame and demanded she be removed from the unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
The boys’ parents felt unable to give their victim personal statements at Manchester Crown and their comments were pre-recorded on film.
Both had begged medics to transfer the surviving triplet from the hospital after the unexplained and unexpected collapses of his brothers.
He was treated at another hospital and was later discharged in good health.
The boys’ father told the court that a specialist consultant had informed him and his partner that it was “extremely rare” to see naturally conceived identical triplets.
He said staff at the Countess of Chester Hospital called the pregnancy “a miracle”.
Letby was on holiday after a break in Ibiza when she learned of the births and became their designated nurse on her first shift back at work on June 23 2016.
Later that day things “started to go downhill”, said the boys’ father.
He said: “I was present in the NNU (neonatal unit) and was informed that (Child O) had collapsed and to be patient and to give the staff some space.
“(Child O) was visibly struggling, it was very distressing to watch his deterioration. I noticed the colour of (Child O’s) skin was changing rapidly, it didn’t appear normal to the naked eye, it was horrific to see, and it is an image that I’ll never forget.
“Deep down I knew it was not going to end well. (Child O) received a blessing from the priest and was quickly christened. Moments later, (Child O) was gone.
“I felt like I had been stabbed in the heart. No words could describe how I was feeling. I kept wishing it had happened to me and at that time would have gladly taken his place.
“From that point I spent some time on the unit with (the surviving triplet) and (Child P). I did not know how I should be feeling, and was worried about other complications. Every beep on that unit caused me anxiety and additional stress.”
He said that the next morning he and his wife were informed that Child P was poorly.
He told the court: “I did not know what was happening. We were still waiting for an explanation for (Child O). The situation escalated and I was worried at the drama and panic unfolding in the room. I knew it was serious when doctors arrived.
“The whole ordeal was a repeat of the previous day, I knew it was not going to end well.”
About a year after the death of his two sons he turned to alcohol, he said.
He added: “One day I took the car keys and had thoughts of ending my life.”
He said he was “gobsmacked” when he was told by police that a nurse had been arrested, but “also relieved that there was finally some sort of explanation”.
“I was always adamant that there had been some form of medical negligence at that hospital and never believed that their deaths were natural causes,” he said.
“I knew that something was not right, but it never occurred to me that they’d been purposely murdered.
“Lucy Letby has destroyed our lives. The anger and the hatred I have towards her will never go away. It has destroyed me as a man and as a father.”
In her statement, the triplets’ mother said she believed she had infected all three of her sons when the complications arose.
She recalled that Letby had dressed Child P after his death and at the time appeared “inconsolable and apologetic”.
She told the court: “I recall saying words to the effect of ‘thank you’.”
The mother then took a long pause before she continued reading her statement, recalling that Letby was the last person to hold Child P.
“She has destroyed our lives,” she said.