Irish nanny charged with first-degree murder

Aisling Brady McCarthy indicted in US after death of one-year-old child

Irish nanny Aisling Brady McCarthy has been indicted on charges of first-degree murder, assault and battery for causing the death in her care of one-year-old Rehma Sabir.

The 34-year-old woman from Quincy, Massachusetts, originally from Co Cavan, was previously only charged with assault and battery following the death of the child in January.

A grand jury in Middlesex County indicted the Irish woman on charges of first-degree murder, assault and battery on the child causing bodily injury, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said.

For the first time, prosecutors have publicly stated what they claim is the exact cause of the baby’s death.


The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy and ruled that “the cause of death is blunt force head injuries, and the manner of death is homicide and not accidental,” the district attorney said in a statement.

The indictment means that a grand jury believes that the prosecutor has a strong enough murder case against the Irish woman to go to trial. No arraignment date has yet been scheduled, the attorney said.

The nanny pleaded not guilty to the charge of assault and battery on January 22nd.

A lawyer for the nanny has repeatedly said that Ms Brady McCarthy has been wrongfully accused of harming the child she was minding. A probable cause hearing was scheduled for April 22nd.

Melinda Thompson, her defence lawyer, asked in the most court appearance last month that prosecutors determine how the child died. The autopsy report was still being completed at that point.

Ms Brady McCarthy, who has been living illegally in the US since 2002, was arrested after police found the child with head injuries on January 14th at an apartment on Ash Street in the Boston suburb of Quincy.

Police discovered the unresponsive baby at about 4.41pm that day. She was breathing but unconscious. The child was brought to Children’s Hospital in Boston where she was found to be suffering from subdural and retinal haemorrhaging and cerebral swelling. The baby died in the hospital on January 16th.

Prosecutors maintain that Ms Brady McCarthy was alone with the child when the fatal injuries occurred.

“It is alleged that on January 14th, the child was in the care of the defendant, her nanny,” the prosecutors said in the statement.

“Through their investigation, including interviews with witnesses, police concluded that the defendant had sole custody of and contact with the child during the time that the child sustained the abusive head trauma injuries that caused her death.”

The nanny was charged on January 22nd with assault and battery on a child causing substantial bodily injury and has been detained since then on a bail of $500,000 (€370,000).

Ms Brady McCarthy faces deportation from the United States if she is released from custody as she has been living in the US illegally.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent