What did Louise Woodward do and where is she now?

Crime And Punishment on ITV takes a look at the trial of British au pair Louise Woodward.

The case caused a stir in the mid-1990s.

So what happened, why was the process controversial, and where is it now?


Louise in the dock for the murder of Matthew Eppen (Image: YouTube)

Crime and Punishment: What Happened in the Louise Woodward Case?

In February 1997, eight month old Matthew Eappen was admitted to the Children’s Hospital in Boston, USA.

Days later, little Matthew tragically died of a fractured skull and a subdural hematoma. He also had a broken wrist and retinal bleeding.

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A hospital ophthalmologist concluded that Matthew’s pathological injuries were characteristic of “shaking baby syndrome”.

The Eappen family’s au pair was the 19-year-old British teenager Louise Woodward.

Crime And Punishment tells the story of the Louise Woodward case ... but what happened?
Louise in 1996 (Image: YouTube)

Where is Louise Woodward from?

Louise grew up in the village of Elton, Cheshire, the daughter of a carpenter and mother who worked at the local college.

After graduating from high school, Louise applied for au pair status in the US state of Massachusetts.

In 1996 she worked for the Eappen family and looked after baby Matthew and also toddler Brendan during the day.

However, cracks began to show in their lifestyle.

Louise was dying to experience everything that Boston – a major US city – had to offer, and Deborah Eappen soon had to find words.

In late January 1997 she wrote: “We expect you to be honest with us and that your main goal at work is the safety and well-being of our children.”

Crime And Punishment tells the story of the Louise Woodward case ... but what happened?
Louise in court (Credit: YouTube)

What happened during the process?

Originally arrested for assault and assault, the charges were changed to first degree murder after Matthew’s death.

Louise pleaded not guilty to the charges.

During the trial, she said she “pounded” Matthew on the bed. The British definition of “popped” is different from the American one, and many have used the word against them.

But there was more …

The defense team argued that Matthew’s injuries sustained weeks before his death.

Despite her defense, the jury found Louise guilty of second degree murder and sentenced her to life imprisonment with a minimum sentence of 15 years.

The complaint…

Louise’s team appealed.

A polygraph test found Louise was telling the truth, and it turned out that the jury was divided over their decision in the original process.

Judge Hiller Zobel overturned the sentence and Louise was charged with negligent homicide.

He said, “I am morally certain that it would be a miscarriage of justice to have this defendant convicted of second degree murder on the basis of this evidence.”

Her sentence was reduced to “time already served”.

Crime And Punishment tells the story of the Louise Woodward case ... but what happened?
Louise in her BBC interview (Credit: YouTube)

Crime and Punishment: Where Is Louise Woodward Now?

On her return to the UK, Louise Martin Bashir gave an interview for the BBC.

In it she protests her innocence.

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As a result of the case, certain US laws and procedures were changed.

Louise is now 44, married and has a seven-year-old daughter.

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