Au pair hopes to be cleared in baby death

March 9, 2007 at 12:00 AM

CHESTER, England, March 8 (UPI) -- Louise Woodward, the British au pair convicted in Massachusetts of fatally shaking a baby, hopes for exoneration.

Woodward, now 29, is hoping for marriage and a family. She told The Daily Mail that she hopes that Dr. Patrick Barnes, a prosecution witness at her trial who has had a change of heart, can help her.

In 1997, Woodward was convicted of the second-degree murder of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen. A judge later reduced the charge to involuntary manslaughter and the sentence to time served, allowing her to return home to England.

Barnes, a radiologist and expert on child abuse, has concluded since the trial that Matthew Eappen's injuries could have had other causes than abuse by Woodward. Other medical witnesses, however, disagree.

Woodward told The Daily Mail that she plans to consult her U.S. lawyers to find out if there are any grounds to reopen the case.

"I really admire him for coming out and saying it," she said of Barnes. "He could have just kept his mouth shut, couldn't he? But I'm not amazed at what he's saying. After all, that's what I've been saying for 10 years."

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