Story of the Louise Woodward trial and where she is now
A new documentary exploring the trial of Louise Woodward is set to be broadcast on Channel 4. The Killer Nanny: Did She Do It? airs Sunday at 9pm and will re-examine evidence from the trial which took place in 1997. The programme features new interviews with witnesses, defence, prosecution and the jury to mark 25 years since the high profile US court case which shook both sides of the Atlantic.
:Coronation Street Kevin Webster actor’s co-star ex and addiction battle Louise Woodward was 19 years old when she stood trial for the murder of Matthew Eappen, who died in her care while she was working as a nanny in Massachusetts. Woodward is from Elton and admitted to playing “a little roughly” with the baby days before his death and was charged with battery of a child.
However, Matthew died from a brain haemorrhage days later and Woodward’s charge was upgraded to first degree murder. The trial took place during October 1997 and Woodward drew criticism from the public for appearing cold throughout the highly televised court case. The prosecution claimed Woodward had violently shaken Matthew in a “frustrated, unhappy and resentful rage”, while the defence asserted his injuries were several months old.
Woodward maintained her innocence throughout the trial and collapsed in tears on October 30 when she was found guilty of second degree murder – which meant a mandatory life sentence. Woodward’s mum blasted the verdict as a “horrendous mistake” and it was revealed the jury was split when it came to its decision. One person on the jury later admitted none of the members “thought she tried to murder him” – and Judge Zobel heard a plea from the defence to change the murder verdict to involuntary manslaughter two days later.
The judge agreed with the challenge and reduced the conviction on November 10, sentencing Woodward to 279 days in prison. This was the exact time Louise Woodward had already spent in jail which meant she was able to walk free. The prosecution challenged the decision to overturn the verdict and launched an appeal which meant the trial was eventually heard at the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court decided by four votes to three in Woodward’s favour – meaning she was able to return to Britain. Woodward went on to study Law at London South Bank University after she arrived back in the UK. She graduated with a 2:2 degree in 2002, and began a career at a Manchester law firm.
However, she dropped out of the contract to work as a dance teacher. Woodward moved to Shropshire after she married a truck hire company boss – and has since become a mum. Before her daughter was born, she told The Daily Mail : ‘I know there are some people waiting for me to have a baby so they can say nasty things.
‘It upsets me but that is not going to stop me leading my life. I am innocent. I have done nothing wrong.
I am entitled to enjoy my life. I am not going to apologise for being happy.’ The Killer Nanny: Did She Do It? airs Sunday January 9 at 9pm on Channel 4
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