Nanny Trial: Parents say daughter was betrayed

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The Independent Online
In their first interview after the trial, Louise Woodward's parents claimed last night that evidence in their daughter's trial was withheld and destroyed. Ian Burrell hears them promise to keep fighting to have her freed.

Gary and Sue Woodward had complied with a courtroom order not to show any emotions when the verdict was read out. But last night they went before television cameras for the first time to say that their daughter had been betrayed by American justice.

Mrs Woodward, of Elton in Cheshire, told Carlton Television's The Big Story: "I thought it was unfair that the lie-detector test results weren't let in. I thought it was unfair that the medical examiners' office were allowed to dispose of tissue even though there was a court order ordering not to do so ...

"And then on Friday, 18 photographs were produced that were vital evidence in the case. The defence had no chance to look at those. And they were kept for eight months and so they withheld evidence, destroyed evidence, and yet the trial still was allowed to go ahead. I lost faith at that point."

Even so, she said she was astonished at the verdict. She said: "We don't understand that after two-and-a-half days of obviously going through the evidence very carefully they've come to this ridiculous decision. It's just unbelievable."

Mr Woodward told the interviewer Dermot Murnaghan that he was also deeply shocked. "I've just got no, no feeling at all. Just completely numb. Astounded at this decision. Completely astounded," he said.

The Woodwards revealed that they had been instructed to remain quiet after the verdict was read out - when their daughter started sobbing uncontrollably. Mr Woodward said: "That was very hard. I just wanted to run over to her, to comfort her, but what could I say? There's no comfort, no words."

Mr Woodward said Louise's legal team had handled the case "very well". "It's not their fault that the jury couldn't see sense. And see the truth," he said.

Mrs Woodward said she believed the jury had not listened to the evidence presented to them: "I don't think they judged the case on the medical facts. I think they judged the case on pure emotion. And the emotional aspect of the trial is that sadly a baby has died, and that's very, very sad. It's a tragedy."

She believed the "ridiculous" television coverage had been a factor in her daughter being unfairly treated. "It's a horrible experience for anyone. And I pray to God that it never ever happens in England. Because we do have a fine judicial system and it isn't run as entertainment."

She said she would continue to fight for her daughter's release. "While I've got a breath in my body, I won't stop fighting for her. For she's an innocent, an innocent child. And they've made a horrendous mistake, and they need to put it right.

"And I think there's a lot of people who believe in Louise ... this can't be allowed to happen. She can't be buried in an American prison for something she didn't do. It's not fair."