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Monday, June 22, 1998 Published at 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK

If parents didn't do it, who did? - Woodward

Louise Woodward talks exclusively to the BBC

The complete Panorama interview - video on demand

BBC News' Philippa Thomas: she knows British public is sceptical
Louise Woodward, the British woman convicted by a US court of the manslaughter of a baby, has claimed in an exclusive BBC interview that she was made to pay for the infant's death.

In the interview to be broadcast on BBC One's Panorama programme, she says of the death of Matthew Eappen: "The mentality is that somebody has to pay. You know, and that seemed to be the problem, that, well, if the parents didn't do it, who did? There's only you left."

The 20-year-old former au pair also talks about life with the Eappen family, her supporters back in Britain and her reaction to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision to allow her to go home.

'No payment'

In a statement released on Sunday, the BBC said: "No payment of any kind has been made to Louise Woodward, the Woodward family or to any third party acting for the Woodwards.

"The BBC will not be profiting from sales of the interview, which will be distributed internationally free of charge."

The interview was carried out by the BBC's Martin Bashir, who previously secured for Panorama an exclusive interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.

In the interview, Woodward sets out her argument that she did not cause eight-month-old Matthew Eappen's death.

[ image: Bashir: Interviewed Princess Diana]
Bashir: Interviewed Princess Diana
She is also quizzed over why she had no message for the Eappen family when questioned by journalists at a press conference held at Manchester Airport on the day she returned.

She tells Panorama she felt there was a feeling someone had to pay for Matthew Eappen's death - and that somebody was her.

'Somebody had to pay'

The former au pair says: "If the parents didn't do it, who did?

"There was only you left and there was the whole feeling that somebody had to pay and that somebody had to be me."

Woodward also describes her experience of working in the US, the day of Matthew Eappen's death and the subsequent trial.

The BBC spokesman stressed: "There were no conditions attached about what questions could be asked."

Woodward's mother, Sue, added: "She is anxious to speak. You'll get lots of answers.

"She feels anxious to be able to speak. She wants people to be able to listen to what she's got to say.

"She wants people to see her as a person."

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In this section

Woodward lied on TV, says baby's uncle

'Absolute child abuse' says Woodward detective

Panorama - Louise Woodward's exclusive interview

Woodwards cash in

If parents didn't do it, who did? - Woodward

Parents go back to court

US press slam Woodward

It's easier for Louise - baby's uncle

Louise's Panorama interview: What do you think?

Press restrained over Woodward's release