Irish nanny may face murder charge after baby dies of horrific injuries
Published 23/01/2013 | 05:00
AN IRISH nanny could face a murder charge in the US after pleading not guilty to causing "devastating" injuries to a toddler who later died.
Aisling McCarthy Brady (34), who has been working in the Boston area for the past decade, has been accused of causing a litany of injuries to Rehma Sabir on the child's first birthday.
A US District Attorney labelled the case -- which has triggered outrage throughout America -- "extremely troubling".
But Ms McCarthy Brady, originally from Lavey, just outside Cavan town, insists she is innocent of harming the child.
"She loved that child," said her lawyer, Melinda Thompson.
"She maintains her innocence. It's a sad case. Maybe there's no blame to go around . . . she did nothing wrong."
The court in Cambridge, near Boston, heard that Ms McCarthy Brady has strong support from both former clients and those in the Irish community.
But court records published in the US media last night suggested she had a history of brushes with the law, with two restraining orders against her.
The nanny, who last year married Don McCarthy, originally from Cork, was yesterday remanded on bail equivalent to €375,000 after pleading not guilty to the assault and battery of the child causing substantial bodily injury.
Prosecutors believe Ms McCarthy Brady is likely to face murder charges once a post-mortem examination has been completed.
It is alleged the nanny caused injuries to the child on Monday of last week – January 14. She died two days later.
Police in Cambridge, in the Boston suburbs, called to the Ash Street home of the family, who are originally from Pakistan, where they found the infant breathing but unconscious.
The child was rushed to the Children's Hospital in Boston where she was found to be suffering from haemorrhaging of the eyes, and swelling of the brain. In addition, there were numerous older bone fractures that were in the process of healing. Rehma died on January 16.
Assistant District Attorney Katharine Folger stated medical examiners had detected evidence of an existing fracture on Sabir's left arm and leg.
The brief hearing was also given an outline of the child's routine on January 14. After waking at 8am, baby Sabir was cared for by both her mother and nanny, before the mother left the house 90 minutes later.
She was then in the sole care of the nanny. The child napped from 10am until 1.15pm, before the nanny fed her eggs and potatoes. At 4.42pm on January 14, Ms McCarthy Brady dialled 911 for medical assistance.
Her defence team claimed she found Sabir having a seizure in her crib and immediately sought help.
Police claim the child was in the sole care of the nanny during the period they believe she received the head injuries.
"This is an extremely troubling case, where we allege the defendant violently assaulted a one-year-old child, causing a devastating head injury and broken bones," Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said.
It is understood McCarthy Brady has worked as a nanny for 13 years and that she had been with the Sabir family for six months.
The Boston Herald has reported that Rehma's father is from London and her mother is from Karachi, Pakistan.
Defence attorney Ms Thompson said that the baby had recently "travelled all over the world", including London, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. She said the "shaken baby syndrome" did not occur at the hands of her client.
Ms Thompson told the court that the family and McCarthy Brady were in touch all the time the baby was in hospital and was now in mourning.
She said that McCarthy Brady would "never hurt a child".
A local man in Cavan, who knows the Brady family well but did not want to be named, spoke of the shock in the community after news of the story broke.
"Aisling was a brilliant person, like the whole family," he said.
"Everybody is in shock. Nobody in the area would believe it. There's great respect for the family, everyone in the area has."
Ms McCarthy Brady, who describes herself as being from a family of 10 children, has been advertising her services on several nanny websites in the USA.
She said she has several years experience and loves looking after children. But the prosecutors stated that she also had restraining orders taken out against her.
Those orders are out of Dorchester District Court in Massachusetts, from 2012 and 2005, according to court records obtained by the 'Boston Herald'.
In the 2005 case, a former boyfriend from Dorchester took out a restraining order against her saying she attacked him in a bar "for talking to a lady friend".
In the 2012 case, a woman took out a restraining order against the Irish woman, accusing her of "abusing the kids in the playground".
It has also emerged that in 2007, she was arrested in Dorchester, and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The case was dismissed.
US Immigration officials stated she was in the country illegally after her visa expired.
Ms McCarthy Brady was ordered to surrender her Irish passport, while the courts also informed the federal immigration authorities she had been arrested.
Immigration officials stated the nanny entered the US in August 2002 on a visa waiver, which permitted her to remain in the country for 90 days.
She worked as a volunteer at Interfaith Social Services in Quincy.
A spokeswoman for Department of Foreign Affairs said: "We are aware of the case and have been in contact with the family.
"We are ready to provide any consular assistance if it is needed."