ITV has commissioned a new film 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, in her care while she was working in the US.
The Trial of Louise Woodward [WT], 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.
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.
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. Some claimed Louise had violently shaken Matthew in a “frustrated, unhappy and resentful rage”, while others asserted his injuries were several months old. Including contributions from the judge and jury who failed to reach agreement on her sentence – the latter’s ‘guilty’ verdict, which condemned her to 15 years for murder was downgraded to manslaughter in a shock last-minute move by the presiding judge – the film will shed new light on the case.
The film, The Trial of Louise Woodward, is commissioned for ITV by Tom Giles, ITV Controller of Current Affairs.
Tom Giles 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 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.”