Eappen has 'no sympathy' for Louise Woodward

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The Independent Online
Louise Woodward should spend at least 15 years in prison for killing Matthew Eappen, his mother said yesterday.

Deborah Eappen, who said she planned to become a child protection campaigner, added that she felt no sympathy for Woodward. "The life expectancy of a baby boy born in 1996 is 80 years. For her to serve less than 15 years for killing Matthew is unfair," she said in an interview with the New York Daily News.

Dr Eappen also criticised the defence lawyers as "unethical" in the way they presented their case.

But one of Woodward's lawyers, Barry Scheck, said he understood how the Eappens were feeling, as his sister had died in a fire when he was 10. "I appreciate what a devastating thing this is. Nothing is going to correct that. But unfortunately this is a trial about whether or not a 19-year-old girl committed this violent slamming and shaking on February 4 ... and we proved it didn't happen," he said.

EF Au Pair agency, which placed Woodward with the Eappens, said yesterday that it would continue to support her through any further legal proceedings arising from the case. In a statement, the agency defended Woodward saying her credentials were thoroughly reviewed.

"Most importantly, she spent three months living in the Eappen family home, during which they were able to observe her interacting with their children and come to their own judgement as to whether she was responsible enough to be left in sole charge of them," it said.

Woodward is waiting to hear if Judge Hiller Zobel will overturn her conviction for second-degree murder, or reduce it to manslaughter or assault, or order a new trial.

-- Kate Watson-Smyth