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A British entrepreneur’s baby was beaten to death on her first birthday by her nanny, US prosecutors allege.
Rehma Sabir suffered “abusive” and “devastating” head injuries while in the sole care of Irish childminder Aisling McCarthy Brady, who has a history of violence.
She was heard screaming for an hour and a half at the family home in Boston, Massachusetts, by a neighbour, before falling silent.
Rehma died in hospital two days after she was found unresponsive in her cot on January 14. Last night Brady, 34, who has allegedly been living in the US as an illegal immigrant, was charged with violently assaulting a baby who later died.
US prosecutors said she may face a murder charge once a post mortem is concluded.
The case echoes that of British nanny, Louise Woodward, 19, who was found guilty of murdering eight-month-old Matthew Eappen while in her care in Newton, Massachusetts in 1997.
She was sentenced to 15 years in jail but her conviction was reduced to manslaughter on appeal following an international outcry.
Last night Rehma’s parents were being comforted by relatives at their home near Harvard University.
Her father Sameer Sabir is originally from Thornton Heath, Surrey. He worked as an investment banker in London before moving to the US in 2006 with his wife Nada Siddiqqi, also an investment banker. Mr Sabir enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before setting up a successful healthcare company based in Boston.
Prosecutors say Rehma suffered a violent assault that left her with bruising and compression fractures in her spine that were “consistent with the slamming of a child”.
Blood-stained baby wipes and a blood-stained pillow and blanket were found in her cot, court records show. Doctors also found multiple fractures. Rehma was treated in hospital for bleeding and swelling to the brain and bleeding behind the eyes but was pronounced brain dead on January 16.
Brady, who was arrested at the weekend, pleaded not guilty to assault and battery on a child when she appeared in court in Boston yesterday.
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 devastating head injury and broken bones. It is alleged that on January 14, the child was in the care of the defendant, her nanny.
“Through their investigation, 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.”
On Wednesday night it emerged that Brady, originally from the village of Lavey, near Cavan, in the Irish Republic, has a history of violence.
In 2005 her boyfriend filed a restraining order against her for attacking him. Two years later she was accused of assaulting a woman. Last March, a woman took out a restraining order against her.
She also appears to be in the US illegally. Brady arrived from Ireland in 2002 on a tourist visa valid for a 90-day stay. She had been working for the Sabirs for six months.
Mr Sabir’s parents, Naveed and Seema, were in the US on the night they learned their granddaughter had been injured, a family friend said. Rehma had visited them in Britain with her parents in November and had been “happy and healthy” and starting to walk.
Sameena Chaudhary, 59, who has known the Sabir family for 25 years, said: “Rehma seemed a normal, healthy baby. Sameer and his wife are wonderful parents.”
She said the proud grandparents parents had flown to America for Rehma’s first birthday. Mrs Chaudhary added: ‘They are in shock.
“We heard they could not wake the baby up and had to take her to hospital, but we did not know why. It is terrible.
“They are a very close family. Seema and Naveed often travel to Boston to see them. All we could do was pray for the little girl.”
Mr Sabir’s brother Osman, 28, and sister Erum flew to America as soon as they heard of the tragedy, she said. - Daily Mail