Retired Scotland Yard Detective Revisits Britain’s Most Notorious Murder Cases In Gritty New Crime Series
The Real Prime Suspect, which airs on CBS Reality (Sky channel 146), is lead by retired detective Jackie Bolton who uses her unparalleled list of contacts to get access to ten of Britain's most infamous murder cases.
Jackie, the inspiration behind multi-award winning drama Prime Suspect character DCI Jane Tennison, played by Helen Mirren, rings in help from former colleagues to revisit investigations with police, detectives, and other professionals who were there at the time of the cases.
Episode six of the 10-part series sees Jackie travel to Massachusetts, USA, to investigate the case of Louise Woodward, the 19-year-old British au pair who was convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of an eight-month old baby while he was in her care.
Woodward had travelled to the States from her home in Cheshire in the summer of 1996 to work as an au pair and by February 1997 was employed by Deborah and Sunil Eappen to take care of their eight-month-old, Matthew.
Soon after taking over his care, little Matthew's health began to deteriorate and he was rushed to hospital where doctors noticed multiple injuries including a fractured wrist and skull. He died five days later as a result of his injuries.
Attention quickly went to Woodward who admitted to becoming frustrated with the child while giving him a bath. In a statement to police, she had said she'd "popped the baby on the bed" - one which had caused much dispute in her case over the use of the word 'popped' which means different things in British and American English.
In the episode, 'The Killer In Charge', Jackie meets key people included in the investigation, such as retired State Trooper Bob Manning who worked on the case, Dr Eli Newberger, the paediatrician who treated Matthew, and Dr Gerald Feigin,the US pathologist who conducted the post mortem.
Initially, Woodward was found guilty of second-degree murder after 26 hours of jury deliberation and was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years.
However, a post-conviction appeal saw the conviction reduced to involuntary manslaughter with the judge stating "the circumstances in which the defendant acted were characterised by confusion, inexperience, frustration, immaturity and some anger, but not malice in the legal sense supporting a conviction for second-degree murder."
Woodward's sentence was then reduced to 279 days and she was freed and returned back to the UK.
The case began international discussions about "shaken baby syndrome".
Episode six of The Real Prime Suspect, 'The Killer In Charge', airs at 10pm on Tuesday 8th October on CBS Reality.
Featured Image Credit: Jackie Malton