Woodward cash row grows

SUPPORTERS of the former au pair Louise Woodward said yesterday they had no knowledge of the whereabouts of the pounds 40,000 paid to the family by a tabloid newspaper.

The revelation of the payment to her parents Sue and Gary Woodward, confirmed yesterday by the Daily Mail's managing editor, follows a categorical denial by Woodward last week that she had received any payment for her story.

The money was paid last November during the height of the trial drama unfolding in Boston, Massachusetts. On 30 October, Woodward was found guilty by a jury of the murder of baby Matthew Eappen but four days later the Daily Mail ran an exclusive interview with her parents, prompting speculation that money had changed hands.

At this point, Woodward was (and remains) a convicted criminal in the eyes of the law and a payment would be in breach of the Press Complaints Commission's code of practice which forbids payment to convicted criminals except in cases where it may be in the public interest.

The official fund for Woodward was set up on 7 December last year as the donations from wellwishers rapidly swelled to around pounds 200,000. Before that, a more informal fund set up by a family friend, Jean Jones, had handled the money, most of which flooded in to the Rigger public house in Woodward's home village of Elton in Cheshire and which was designed to fund her defence and family visits to the United States.

It remains unclear just where the money from the Daily Mail went. None of the original fund organisers, nor those who replaced them in December, can say whether it was put into the general pot of donations handled by Mrs Jones, whether it was used to pay off some of Woodward's bills or whether her parents retained it. Woodward's mother, Sue, has consistently denied receiving any money from newspapers.

In Elton, the Rev Tim Barker, speaking on behalf of the Rev Ken Davy, chairman of the Woodward Trust Fund, said yesterday: "No money from a newspaper or any other media has been paid to the trust since it was formed on 7 December last year."

He said that donations had come from all over the world and there may well have been a proper record kept. But, he added the trustees were not able to comment on payments made before the trust was set up.

Mrs Jones, who wrote a scathing letter to the trustees when the new trust fund was set up in December, was unavailable for comment. However, earlier this month she said that money "became God" to Sue Woodward as the worldwide appeal gathered momentum.

She alleged that while initially Mrs Woodward's sole concern was for her daughter, later, her perspective changed and said her former friend had ridden "roughshod" over those who had helped her.

A week earlier, Mrs Woodward denied an allegation that she had forged an invoice from her daughter's former solicitor, Elaine Whitfield Sharp.

Sandra McCabe, a neighbour and key member of the support group, said that she did not know the facts of the latest row and did not want to discuss it. Yesterday she was reported as saying: "Sue always said she was not going to get anything in all of this."

The payment was confirmed by the Daily Mail's managing editor, Lawrence Sear, who said it was made because the family "considered it necessary to receive payment in order to help fund their legal battle".

The Woodwards have consistently denied seeking to profit or receiving payment in relation to the case. On 12 November, two days after the guilty verdict was commuted to one of manslaughter, Woodward said: "I have heard rumours that I have sold my story or rights to my story to the news media. I want to set the record straight. I have done no such thing."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace