Inquiry over arrest of au-pair's lawyer

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The Independent Online
POLICE in the United States have ordered an investigation into the drink-driving arrest of one of Louise Woodward's defence lawyers amid a row over claims that she told police she now believed the au pair was guilty.

Friends of the Woodward family from Elton, Cheshire, yesterday dismissed the allegations, said to be contained in a police sergeant's report on the arrest of Elaine Whitfield Sharp, 44, in Boston last Friday.

Ms Whitfield Sharp has denied "appalling" claims that she told the officer she was under pressure because she had come to believe that Ms Woodward, 20, was guilty of the manslaughter of Matthew Eappen.

Fresh claims about the UK-born lawyer's arrest were disclosed yesterday. The report by Sgt Randy Cipoletta is understood to say that Ms Whitfield Sharp was glassy-eyed, "belligerent" and "abusive" when she was stopped in her Alfa Romeo in the suburb of Lynn.

The report says that at the police station she refused a breath test and lowered herself to the floor, thrashing her arms about. She is alleged to have told the police of Woodward: "I thought she was innocent but now I know she is guilty and I can't handle it."

The report claims that when two medics arrived to take her to hospital because of her condition she threatened them and hit one of them in the ambulance.

But Ms Whitfield Sharp said at her home in Marblehead, outside Boston, where Woodward has been staying since her trial, that she had suffered a seizure at the police station because of medication she had taken for her meningitis, caused by an old brain injury.

Woodward is awaiting result of a Supreme Court appeal hearing that will decide whether she is freed or sent back to jail.