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Sunday, November 2, 1997 Published at 16:18 GMT


Louise did not set out to kill Matthew, says juror

Supporters left this placard outside the prison

A member of the jury which convicted the British teenager Louise Woodward of second degree murder has said they did not think she set out to kill baby Matthew Eappen.

Juror Jodie Garbar added that the jury believed the conditions for second degree murder had been fulfilled and they were not happy reaching the verdict.

The standard by which they made their definition was that of "malice". This term means that any "reasonable" person would know the effect of the actions taken would result in the death of a child.

Ms Garbar also said that the issue of sentencing had not come up and that she did not know if the the jury would have preferred a manslaughter charge.

Ms Garbar is upset at having been quoted extensively - or misquoted as she sees it - in the British newspaper the Mail on Sunday. She told the BBC that she had no idea she was being interviewed by the paper and was angry that her name had been used.

[ image: Framingham prison is the oldest women's prison in Massachusetts]
Framingham prison is the oldest women's prison in Massachusetts
Parents visit Louise in Prison

Louise Woodward has spent her first full day in Framingham women's prison in Massachusetts, since being convicted of murdering the baby in her care.

She has been visited by her parents and supporters have been stopping outside the jail to voice their concern.

Gary and Susan Woodward made no comment to the press on arriving at the prison. They spent several hours with their daughter.

Louise Woodward is now sharing a cell with another woman in the intake unit, while undergoing an "intake process" which is expected to take about two weeks.

It involves medical screening to establish her physical condition and an evaluation of her mental health.

Growing support

A number of local residents have also been to Framingham prison to voice their support for the teenager. They hope that the judge will use his discretion to overturn the guilty verdict, at a court hearing scheduled for next week.

In Britain the Louise Woodward Campaign for Justice Fund said it had collected £100,000.

Campaigner Hazel Mayamba Kafongo, 41, said: "The support has been phenomenal. We're running on adrenalin and peoples' support. We've already got 100 support groups worldwide and money is coming in all the time."

The group is calling for a candlelit vigil at American embassies across the world and for people to wear yellow ribbons in support of the jailed au-pair.

The Campaign has also appealed to the Spice Girls to support the battle to free Louise.

Public opinion has swayed in the 19-year-old's favour both in Boston, where the trial took place, and across the rest of the United States since the guilty verdict was announced on Thursday.

[ image: Judge Hiller Zobel]
Judge Hiller Zobel
Next week's hearing

On Tuesday, the defence team will ask the judge to quash the conviction. They will also file motions requesting a not guilty direction, a new trial or for the murder charge to be substituted by a lesser offence.

To win a retrial, Louise's lawyers would have to persuade him that the jury's verdict was "manifestly against the evidence and the interests of justice."

This has been attempted frequently in US legal history, but seldom achieved.

However, Judge Hiller Zobel has ordered a retrial in his career before and twice granted applications for reduced charges.

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