Woodward's parents face investigation

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The Independent Online
THE PARENTS of Louise Woodward, the convicted child killer, are being investigated by the police and FBI over allegations that they fraudulently took more than pounds 9,000 from the fund set up to help their daughter.

Cheshire Police fraud squad is also examining the records of the appeal fund, which raised more than pounds 280,000, investigating whether any money had been spent illegally.

The investigation centres on the allegation that the former au pair's parents, Susan and Gary, faked an invoice for pounds 9,113.50 for accommodation at the home of their daughter's American lawyer, Elaine Whitfield Sharp.

Mrs Whitfield Sharp's husband, Dan, claimed he and his wife provided free accommodation in Boston for the Woodwards until relations between the two couples soured: Mrs Whitfield Sharp was sacked by Woodward's defence team over claims she told a police officer arresting her for drink- driving that she no longer believed her client was innocent. Mr Whitfield Sharp denied yesterday he had acted maliciously because his wife was sacked by the Woodwards, saying he was approached by law enforcement agencies this summer.

Woodward was found guilty last year of the second degree murder of eight- month-old Matthew Eappen. Her conviction was later reduced to manslaughter and her sentence was reduced to the time she had already served in jail. She returned to the UK and is now studying law at South Bank University in London.

Cheshire Police received a complaint from a member of the public. An officer flew to Boston to interview Mr and Mrs Whitfield Sharp. They and the Woodward family have also been questioned by the FBI.