herald

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Case has echoes of English au pair found guilty over Boston baby's death

AISLING McCarthy Brady is not the first nanny from this side of the Atlantic to run into trouble in Boston.

English au pair Louise Woodward (right), then 19, was convicted in 1997 of the involuntary manslaughter of eight-month-old Matthew Eappen while he was in her care in the child's Boston, Massachusetts home.

The prosecution argued that Matthew's injuries occurred as a result of violent shaking and from his head impacting with a hard surface.

On October 30 1997, after 26 hours of deliberations, the jury found her guilty of second-degree murder.



Innocence

The following day, Ms Woodward was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 15 years to be served.

The shocking case polarised opinion in the United States and England, with many commentators believing the young nanny was innocent.

On November 10, at a post-conviction relief hearing, the court reduced the conviction to involuntary manslaughter and Woodward's sentence was reduced to time served and she was freed.

On returning home to England, Woodward gave a press conference, which was broadcast live in the UK and Boston in which she continued to maintain her innocence.

She gained a law degree in London after her return to the UK and has slowly tried to rebuild her life after her experiences in America.

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