Irish nanny Aisling Brady McCarthy said today through her attorneys that new medical evidence casts doubt on whether she was actually responsible for the death of one-year-old Rehma Sabir in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 13 months ago.
The child suffered severe head injuries and was taken to a hospital on her first birthday, January 14, 2013. She died two days later. McCarthy was caring for the child at the time and was charged with her murder.
The Irish nanny denied abusing the child, saying instead that the one-year-old suffered some kind of seizure. But prosecutors said that McCarthy violently pummeled the infant, leaving Rehman with swelling of the brain, bleeding behind her eyes and several bone fractures.
In a Woburn, Massachusetts, courtroom Friday, lawyers for the Irish nanny, who came to the United States on a three-month tourist visa in 2002, but never left, said that new medical evidence shows that the child had earlier, serious injuries to her vertebrae that could only have happened when Rehma was traveling overseas with her parents.
McCarthy, 35, did not travel with the baby, caring for the child only when the family was in Cambridge. The child’s parents, natives of London, are Sameer Sabir, a technology entrepreneur, and Nadda Siddiqui, a Princeton University-educated financial analyst.
The accused Irish nanny has been in jail since January of 2013, in part because as an illegal immigrant, United States Customs and Immigration Enforcement officials have said they would be forced under the law to deport McCarthy immediately if she were freed.
Once she is sent back to Ireland, Assistant District Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said, there is no way to guarantee her return to face trial.
But Melinda Thompson, a lawyer for the Irish nanny, said that bail should be set at $5,000 because the new medical evidence “changes the case entirely.”
Thompson also slammed prosecutors for what she said were unjustified delays in the case against the Irish nanny, who has been accused of violence before. She was accused of assault against a woman in 2007 and has had two restraining orders against her, the second in 2009.
Prosecutor Fitzgerald said that even if the baby endured earlier abuse not inflicted by McCarthy, nothing changes in the case against her. The first-degree murder charges pertain only to the head injuries allegedly caused by the Irish nanny, not to any earlier damage done by any other person.
A judge made no ruling yet on whether to grant bail to the incarcerated Irish nanny.