Briefing: Woodward denies considering selling her story

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The Independent Online
Louise Woodward was always going to be bombarded with lucrative offers for the rights to her story. But now she has said she is not interested. In an extraordinary statement last night, she confirmed that she has been receiving "six-figure" offers for the rights to the story of her dramatic murder trial but angrily denied that she has entertained any of them.

Woodward, whose original second-degree murder conviction in the death of Matthew Eappen was slashed on 10 November by her trial judge, Hiller Zobel, to one of manslaughter, was responding to media reports about such deals.

Woodward has been in self- imposed seclusion since then and this was was only the second public statement from her since 10 November when Judge Zobel released her on time already served. A parallel statement was issued by her lawyers adding that they had been instructed by the Woodward family automatically to repel all approaches from book and film agents.

"Neither my family members nor I have sold any rights, nor entered into any media or other such agreements, including agreements commencing after my case is concluded," Woodward said. "No negotiations concerning the sale of rights are under way nor contemplated."

There was speculation following Judge Zobel's decision to release Woodward that she had been "bought" by a British paper in return for exclusive access to her and her family. Proceeds from such a deal could have helped the family while it remained in Massachusetts pending appeals. While in effect confirming such approaches had been made, Woodward went on: "We have turned down lucrative six-figure offers for interviews, because we have found the whole subject to be distasteful and inappropriate".

The statements were apparently spurred by a Boston Globe report yesterday that cited a Houston lawyer claiming he could demonstrate that EF Au Pair, the agency that placed Woodward as a nanny with the Eappen family, had attempted to force her to sign over a portion of profits from any deals.

The lawyer, who claimed to have met with Susan Woodward, Louise's mother, was also quoted as saying that the family was at odds with her defence team about the wisdom of appealing the manslaughter conviction.