Investigation Discovery’s “The Crimes That Changed Us” is a true-crime series that features crime cases from around the nation that brought about changes in social perspectives. One such gripping case taken up by the series is that of the infamous ‘British Nanny Trial.’ The episode chronicles the various events that led to the tragic death of an eight-month-old baby, Matthew Eappen. The primary convict for the case was Matthew’s designated au pair, Louise Woodward. The proceedings of the case took many interesting turns. We compiled all the significant happenings to answer some queries about her. Here’s what we know.
Who Is Louise Woodward?
Louise Woodward was the hired au pair to Matthew Eappen. Louise, hailing from England, came to America to make a living. In late January 1997, she received an ultimatum from the Eappens to improve herself. Five days after the ultimatum was issued on February 4, 1997, Louise called the police to report that Baby Matthew was experiencing difficulty in breathing. The Chief Prosecutor of the case, Gerard Leone, Jr. stated that Woodward behaved violently with the baby owing to the resentment and frustration that was harboring within her due to the ultimatum. She allegedly shook the baby and “popped” him down on the bed and the floor. The shaking is said to have induced the Shaken Baby Syndrome in Matthew which eventually led to his death.
Woodward was held by the police on February 4, 1997. Five days later on February 9, 1997, Matthew lost his battle for life. The autopsy pointed at massive internal bleeding to be the cause of death. Woodward was then charged with the murder of the baby. Detective William Byrne interviewed Woodward after the incident. In his testimonial during the trial, he mentioned Louise accepting that she had been “a little rough” with Matthew when she was angered by his incessant crying. She had allegedly dropped the baby on the bed and later onto the bathroom floor with probable additional impact to his head from the side of the tub. She was later indicted in the court for a second-degree murder charge but the charge was later reduced to involuntary manslaughter.
Where Is Louise Woodward Now?
On October 30, 1997, after deliberating for almost 26 hours, the grand jury presiding over the Woodward case, pronounced Louise guilty of second-degree murder. Following the verdict, on October 31, she was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum serving period of 15 years. Louise’s legal team registered post-conviction motions to the trial court, the hearing for which commenced on November 4, 1997. The hearing revealed that the jury had been split regarding the murder charge. On November 10, the hearing ended with Judge Zobel reducing Woodward’s sentence from second-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter. The verdict was supported with his statement that read “the circumstances in which the defendant acted were characterized by confusion, inexperience, frustration, immaturity and some anger, but not malice in the legal sense supporting a conviction for second-degree murder.”
The Judge’s statement further stated the jury realized that Louise had not intended to kill Matthew. Owing to the changed verdict, Woodward served for 279 days. On January 1, 2014, Louise reportedly gave birth to a baby girl of her own. Woodward and her husband Antony Elkes, are residents in South Shropshire. Louise completed her law degree in 2002 but did not pursue a career in law. She is currently a salsa dance teacher.
Read More: Where Are Matthew Eappen’s Parents Now?