Louise Woodward: Where is the Convicted Au Pair Now?

Louise Woodward, an au pair for the Eappen family, was present when 9-month-old Matthew Eappen collapsed. Woodward made the call to 911; given Matthew’s injuries, it was clear he had suffered head trauma. She was subsequently arrested on charges of assault and battery. Following Matthew’s death, Woodward faced additional charges of murder. Channel 4’s 2022 three-episode miniseries, ‘The Killer Nanny: Did She Do It?’ chronicles the extensive legal trial that garnered significant attention from both British and American media in the late 1990s.

Louise Woodward was Accused of Killing a 9-Month-Old

Louise Woodward was born to Susan and Gary Woodward in the quaint town of Elton, Cheshire, a small village in England. Growing up, she strongly desired to explore the world beyond her hometown. After completing high school, she opted for a gap year and journeyed to Boston, Massachusetts, eager to immerse herself in new experiences. There, she found employment as an au pair with EF Education First’s Cultural Care Au Pair program and was excited about the opportunity to discover the vibrant offerings of the bustling city.

Before joining the Eappen family in late 1996, Louise Woodward had been assigned to another family. The Eappen family, consisting of parents Sunil and Deborah Eappen, along with their two children, Brendan and Matthew, welcomed her into their home. Both parents were doctors, so in addition to caring for the children, Woodward also had household chores and management responsibilities. Just three months into her employment, on February 4, 1997, Woodward made a call to 911 reporting that Matthew was not breathing. Emergency responders rushed Matthew to the children’s hospital, and they began questioning Woodward about the situation.

Woodward explained to the responders that she had bathed Matthew and then “popped” him on the bed. Later, she put him down for a nap, and when she returned, she found him with half-closed eyes, gasping for breath. Believing he had choked on vomit, she administered CPR and attempted to contact Sunil, who did not respond. Eventually, she called 911. Woodward also admitted to being rough with Matthew and “dropping” him on the floor. However, medical examinations revealed a fractured skull, bleeding in the brain, and retinal hemorrhage, allegedly indicating signs of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Consequently, Woodward was arrested on charges of assault and battery.

When Matthew passed away on February 9, she was also charged with his murder. During the trial, extensive arguments were presented by doctors and physicians. Woodward’s defense team contended that Matthew’s injuries could have occurred up to three weeks before his death. They highlighted a healing fractured wrist, suggesting it was sustained about a month earlier. The defense alleged that Matthew’s parents were responsible for the abuse that led to the fatal injuries. In contrast, the prosecution called Deborah Eappen to testify during the trial.

In her testimony, Deborah Eappen stated that they had encountered difficulties with Woodward, noting her tendency to return home late at night, sometimes as late as 1 or 2 am. She claimed they had addressed their concerns with Woodward in January, discussing the expectations regarding child care that she was failing to meet. The prosecution painted Woodward’s motive as someone who had come to Boston to enjoy herself but was overwhelmed by the demands of her job, taking out this frustration on the child.

Louise Woodward Goes By the Name of Louise Elkes Today

In October 1997, Louise Woodward was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 15 years. However, it later emerged that the jury was evenly split before reaching the guilty verdict. Following an appeal, a post-conviction relief hearing was conducted by the judge, who reduced her conviction to involuntary manslaughter. As a result, her sentence was reduced to 279 days, which was the time she had already served in prison, leading to her release.

After her release, Woodward returned to the UK and held a press conference to assert her innocence. She also participated in a BBC interview to share her perspective on the case. In 1999, a civil lawsuit settlement was reached between her family and the Eappen family, wherein Woodward agreed to donate all her earnings related to the case to charity. Subsequently, Woodward began to rebuild her life and pursued studies in law at London’s South Bank University.

After completing her law degree in 2002, she secured a 2-year contract position. However, she found herself drawn to other pursuits, and in 2005, she transitioned to becoming a salsa dance teacher alongside her boyfriend. In 2006, she crossed paths with Antony Elkes, a businessman whom she later married in May 2013. The couple welcomed a daughter in 2014. In February 2022, Louise was spotted holding some food items while walking towards her car at the parking lot of a shopping center in daylight.

Now in her mid-40s, she resides in Shropshire in the West Midlands of England with her husband and child. On the professional front, she continues her work as a dance instructor under the name Louise Elkes. It has been reported that she is on cordial terms with other mothers at the school. Talking about her conduct, one of her neighbors shared: “She’s lived here for years. Everyone knows her past but she’s just another mum to us.” From what we can tell, Louise Elkes prefers to stay away from social media and keeps her personal life under wraps.

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