Irish nanny 'may face murder charge'
An Irish nanny living in the US, who has been charged with violently assaulting a baby who later died, may yet face a murder charge, the district attorney’s office has said.
Aisling McCarthy Brady (aged 34) originally from Lavey in Co Cavan, later moving to Quincy, Massachusetts, is alleged to have been the sole carer for the girl on January 14 – her first birthday – when she suffered injuries “consistent with abusive head trauma”, authorities said.
The baby, Rehma Sabir, died two days later in hospital after suffering brain damage.
McCarthy Brady was remanded on $500,000 (€375,277) bail after pleading not guilty to assault and battery on a child, causing substantial bodily injury.
She may yet face a murder charge after an autopsy report by the Chief Medical Examiner is finalised, the district attorney’s office said.
Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore said consular services were available for the family.
“We normally provide assistance if somebody finds themselves in this situation,” he said.
“Any Irish citizen who gets in difficulty like this, the consular services of my department are available to them. The consular services are available in this case.”
Sameer Sabir, the baby’s father, moved from London to the US where he lives with his wife, who is originally from Karachi, Pakistan.
It is understood the nanny married Donald McCarthy in Massachusetts last year.
McCarthy Brady’s family, including most of her nine brothers and sisters, who also live in the US, have not approached the Department of Foreign Affairs for support.
Her mother Margaret lives in the village of Lavey near Cavan town about an hour outside Dublin.
A local man, who knows the 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.”
McCarthy Brady is classed as undocumented or living illegally in the US.
Immigration authorities said she arrived from Ireland in 2002 and was only permitted to stay for 90 days.
She was arrested at the weekend on a charge of assault and battery on baby Rehma.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said: “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.
“Children are our most vulnerable victims and where, as here, the offender has been entrusted with the care of a child who depends on them, the allegations are all the more egregious.”
A statement on the District Attorney’s website said: “It is alleged that on January 14, the child was in the care of the defendant, her nanny.
“Through their investigation, including interviews with witnesses, police determined that the defendant had sole custody of and contact with the child during the time that she sustained injuries consistent with abusive head trauma.”
According to authorities, Cambridge Police responded to a 911 call to Ash Street in the Boston suburb shortly before 5pm on January 14 regarding an unresponsive infant, and found the one-year-old breathing but unconscious.
Rehma Sabir was treated in the Children’s Hospital in Boston for bleeding and swelling around the brain and bleeding behind the eyes. She was pronounced brain dead on January 16.
Medics also recorded that the child had multiple healing bone fractures.
Rehma’s injuries could have happened at any time, Brady’s lawyer told the Associated Press.
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 reported that the baby had travelled “all over the world” including London, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. She also spent Christmas in London.
Defence lawyer Melinda Thompson is reported to have 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”.