Film commissioned of US 'nanny murder' trial of British au pair Louise Woodward

It was a case which gripped the media on both sides of the Atlantic when British au pair Louise Woodward went on trial for the murder of an eight-month-old baby.

Louise Woodward, who was convicted of the manslaughter of baby Matthew Eappen, after arriving back from the US

Accused of shaking Matthew Eappen to death at her employers' home in Newton, Massachusetts, 19-year-old Woodward became the focus of one of the highest profile court cases ever in the US which featured a British defendant.

Dubbed by US media as the "nanny murder trial", the 1997 case was hugely televised and ultimately resulted in Woodward being found guilty of murder in the second degree.

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Woodward was claimed to have violently shaken Matthew in a "frustrated, unhappy and resentful rage”, although there were also claims that the infant's injuries were several months old.

Although found guilty by a jury, the verdict was downgraded to involuntary manslaughter by a judge in a last-minute decision which sent shockwaves across the pond.

Nearing 25 years since the landmark case, ITV has now commissioned for a film to be made re-telling the trial, its aftermath and whether medical advancements could have changed the verdict were it heard before a court today.

The Trial of Louise Woodward is to also shed light on the disagreements had between prosecution and defence teams over key facts of the case at the time.

Producers Voltage TV say they have spoken to people close to the case who have not spoken since Woodward was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison.

Tom Giles, ITV Controller of Current Affairs who commissioned the production, 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.”

Sanjay Singhal, Executive Producer for Voltage TV, said: "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."

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