British newspapers Wednesday said the release of au pair Louise Woodward, convicted in the United States of killing a baby, was no reason for celebration.
In a leader headed "She isn't a heroine," the broadsheet Daily Telegraph said: "The British lion is making a mistake if it roars for Woodward. The death of a child is immensely sad, not a matter for popping champagne corks."It said the British had an attractive tradition of wanting to aid their countrymen when they see them floundering overseas.
"But not all of our passport holders deserve unquestioning national support whenever they fall foul of foreign jurisdictions."
The tabloid Daily Mail took a similar line: "Most may well agree that though the system of checks and balances of the American legal process by which Miss Woodward's fate has been so meticulously determined are different to ours, justice has been done."
Massachusett's highest court on Tuesday upheld a reduced sentence of manslaughter against Woodward in the death of eight-month-old baby Matthew Eappen, leaving her free to return home to England.
Appeal judges ruled 4-3 that trial judge Hiller Zobel acted properly within his scope when he reduced the original verdict to manslaughter from murder.
The court also called Woodward a felon convicted of a gross act of child abuse and stressed that neither she or her family should profit from the crime through media interviews.
"Louise is on her way home, but hopefully the villagers of Elton have learned from last year's unedifying scenes in the pub," wrote Daily Mail columnist Lynda Lee-Potter, referring to celebrations in Woodward's home village last year when the original murder conviction was quashed.
"This is not a time for victory salutes, triumphant punches in the air, or bonfires and parties in the street. A child died, so how can anyone celebrate?" she said.