Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods
World's Worst Nannies
10/30/1997: 19-year-old English au pair Louise Woodward was hired by Sunil and Deborah Eappen to care for their eight-month-old son Matthew at their Newton, Mass., home. While watching Matthew on February 4, 1997, Woodward became irritated with his crying, and, according to prosecutors, shook him and hit his head on a hard surface. Matthew died four days later at a Boston hospital. X-Rays revealed a fractured skull, subdural hematoma, bleeding behind the eyes, and a partially-healed fractured wrist from a month prior. At trial, the prosecution presented Woodward as an irresponsible nanny, citing incidents in which she used a fake ID to enter nightclubs. After 26 hours of deliberation, the jury found Woodward guilty of second-degree murder. After the verdict, Woodward's lawyer filed motions which led to the murder conviction being reduced to involuntary manslaughter. Woodward's sentence of 15 years to life was reduced to time served, and she was released after spending 279 days in jail. Following her ordeal, Woodward returned to her native UK where she studied law and later became a dance teacher.
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