Louise: I'm lucky to be out of prison

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The Independent Online
LOUISE WOODWARD, in her first televised interview since her return home, claimed that the Boston police twisted her words to make it look as if she had confessed to shaking and dropping Matthew Eappen.

In an interview with Panorama on BBC1, the former au pair gave a detailed account of her last day with the baby and of how four policemen tried to suggest that she had been rough with him while telling her they just wanted information to help doctors treating the baby.

She said she was "horrified" that the Eappens, who are doctors, should have been allowed to examine their own baby. "It explains an awful lot - if you take his parents out of the equation, there is really only one other person you can point the finger at and that was me."

Meanwhile, the police officer who arrested and interviewed Woodward, Detective Sergeant William Byrne, sent an electronic message to the BBC last night accusing the 20-year-old of "absolute child abuse".

Woodward told Martin Bashir, who interviewed Diana, Princess of Wales for the "Queen of People's Hearts" Panorama programme in 1995, that when she was read her rights she was told it was just a formality.

She said: "The officer William Byrne read me my rights. He said it was just an abundance of caution. I didn't feel that I needed an attorney. He said he wanted information to give to the doctors to help Matthew. He'd asked me to demonstrate how I'd shook Matthew - because I told him that I had to aid resuscitation, in maybe panic ... In trying to get a response I told him I'd shook Matthew.

"He asked, 'Do you think, is it possible that you may have hit his head in the bath? Is it possible you may have hit his head on the floor?' And I absolutely said no, no. He said: 'So maybe, maybe you were a little rough with him then?' ... I'm trying to think of anything I can give them to help them. So I said 'Well maybe I wasn't as gentle as I could have been' ... But I never said that I was rough.

In a confident and convincing display, Woodward admitted she had been "fortunate" to have served just 279 days for manslaughter but said: "I think 279 days is a long time for an innocent person to serve.

She finished with the words: "I am not accusing anyone of anything, because I don't know what happened either ... I don't know what happened, but I know what didn't happen."

Key Questions and Answers

Q: Are you responsible for Matthew Eappen's death? A: No I'm not. No, I'm innocent. I didn't do anything wrong.

Q: Did you shake Matthew and caused the baby's skull fracture?

A: It didn't happen, that didn't happen. I felt sure that the presented case would at least pose reasonable doubt ..."

Q Do you have any feelings for the fact that the Eappens lost a child?

A: Of course I do. I am not accusing anyone of anything, because I don't know what happened either.