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Everything We Know About ITV's The Trial of Louise Woodward

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Everything We Know About ITV's The Trial of Louise Woodward

Last week, ITV announced a new film based on the trial of Louise Woodward, the 19-year-old British au pair accused of the murder (by shaking) of nine-month-old baby, Matthew Eappen, who was in her care.

The film will document the horrific killing, which Woodward committed while she was working in the US, featuring interviews with those close to the case - many of whom have never spoken before.

So, we thought we'd give you a run down of what happened, ahead of its release.

Who is Louise Woodward?

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Louise Woodward was 19 years old when she moved to Boston, Massachusetts from the UK in July 1996 to work for the first time as an au pair.

She was employed by Deborah and Sunil Eappen in November 1996 to care for their son Michael Eappen, the BBC reported at the time.

Louise was an au pair who was accused of murder after Matthew Eappen passed away (Credit: PA)
Louise was an au pair who was accused of murder after Matthew Eappen passed away (Credit: PA)

Matthew was taken to Boston Children's Hospital on 4th February 1997 after he stopped breathing and was put on a life support machine.

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On 10th February, Michael passed away. He had suffered a severe brain haemorrhage and it was decided to switch off his life support machine.

Louise was arrested and charged with murder.

What will the film be about?

The Trial of Louise Woodward (currently the film's working title) produced by Voltage TV, will mark 25 years since the 1997 trial, the highest profile court case in the US featuring a British defendant, which was played out on television screens across both sides of the Atlantic.

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Examining whether advances in medical science since the 1997 trial might have changed the verdict in this case, the film will also bring revealing insights from the experts for the prosecution and defence who ferociously disagreed about key facts at the time.

Michael Eappen passed away in February 1997 and Louise was initially charged with murder (Credit: Shutterstock)
Michael Eappen passed away in February 1997 and Louise was initially charged with murder (Credit: Shutterstock)

With access to many of the key figures closest to the case - and including contributions from those who have never spoken since it ended - this film aims to illuminate each key step of the trial and its aftermath.

What happened at Louise's trial?

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Louise was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 15 years to be served in October 1997.

Some claimed Louise had violently shaken Matthew - who died in February 1997 - in a "frustrated, unhappy and resentful rage", while others asserted his injuries were several months old.

Louise had a lot of support in her hometown of Elton, Cheshire during the trial (Credit: PA)
Louise had a lot of support in her hometown of Elton, Cheshire during the trial (Credit: PA)

Her sentence was later reduced to manslaughter after the Judge reduced the conviction to involuntary manslaughter in November 1997.

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Louise's sentence was also reduced to time served (279 days) and she was freed. The film will shed new light on the case.

What has ITV said about the upcoming film?

Tom Giles, ITV Controller of Current Affairs, said: "The trial of Louise Woodward made a unique impact and is still vividly remembered now, decades later.

"This film, with its close access to the key figures involved in the case, promises to deliver an eye-opening insight into the pressures bearing down on proceedings to tell us how and why it played out as it did and how its conclusion is a continuing source of division."

The new film will look deeper into Louise's case (Credit: PA)
The new film will look deeper into Louise's case (Credit: PA)

Sanjay Singhal is Executive Producer for Voltage TV: "Like millions of others, I remember being gripped by the daily twists and turns of the extraordinary court case as it was headline news every night.

"I'd like to try to show what it must have been like to go through that for both sides: a young British woman at the centre of a legal storm - and the bereaved parents who felt that justice was not done because of a scientific argument that continues to this day."

Is there a release date?

The film is still in production and does not have an airdate yet. Keep an eye on Tyla and we will update you as soon as we know!

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: TV and Film, True Crime, ITV

Gregory Robinson
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