Charges against Irish nanny dropped as murder ruled out in child’s death
Aisling Brady McCarthy arrested 2½ years ago over death of Rehma Sabir
Aisling Brady McCarthy at a hearing in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, Massachusetts last year. Photograph: Elise Amendola/AP Photo
US prosecutors have dropped murder and assault charges against Irish nanny Aisling Brady McCarthy over the death of a baby she was minding after doctors revised the manner of death, ruling out homicide.
Middlesex district attorney Marian Ryan filed court papers on Monday ending the 30-month prosecution case against Ms McCarthy (37) who was accused of fatally assaulting one-year-old Rehma Sabir at the child’s home in Cambridge near Boston in January 2013.
Ms McCarthy, who has always pleaded her innocence, was released on bail to house arrest in May after the Massachusetts medical examiner began reviewing evidence in the case amid concerns about old injuries on the child that occurred when she was not being cared for by the Irish woman.
The prosecutor yesterday filed a nolle prosequi, abandoning the case against the Co Cavan woman, who has been living illegally in the US since 2002, after the examiner revised the manner of death.
“Based on an assessment of the present state of the evidence, including the amended ruling from the medical examiner who performed the autopsy, the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts] cannot meet its burden of proof,” Ms Ryan said.
Police called to the Cambridge home of the Sabir family on the afternoon of January 14th, 2013 to find the infant to be breathing but unconscious. The child, who was in Ms McCarthy’s care at the time, died in hospital two days later.
The medical examiner initially ruled the infant had died from blunt force head injuries and the death was ruled to be a homicide.
In an amended ruling, the examiner changed the manner of death to “undetermined” and the cause to “complications of subdural haemorrhage of uncertain etiology.”
The examiner said additional materials, including expert witness reports from the defence and prosecution, “put forth several different and often conflicting opinions about the cause of Rehma’s death.”
“In particular the overall state of Rehma’s health and her past medical issues raise the possibility that she had some type of disorder that was not able to be completely diagnosed prior to her death.”
Ms McCarthy’s lawyer Melinda Thompson told US media that the Irish woman “was put in jail for 2 1/2 years over a crime that never occurred. Not just a crime that she did not commit, but a crime that did not occur.”
She said the nanny had not stopped crying “out of joy” since hearing the news the charge had been dropped.
“This was an absolute nightmare. It changes a person. She can’t get those years back.”
Ms Thompson added that Ms McCarthy still faces uncertainty as US immigration authorities want to detain her but it is understood she is keen to return to Ireland.