After nearly three years behind bars and under house arrest, accused of a child homicide she did not commit, Irish nanny Aisling Brady McCarthy has spoken out about her ordeal.
Before boarding a plane to go back to Ireland on Tuesday night, she had an emotional conversation with Boston Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis, who has thoughtfully and empathetically chronicled her trial from the start.
“Suddenly, everything is happening so fast after going so … so very slow for almost three years. I can’t wait to get home and start my life over again. My worst nightmare is finally over,” McCarthy said.
She returned to Ireland the day after Marian Ryan, the Middlesex, MA District Attorney, admitted that the prosecution did not have enough evidence to charge McCarthy with homicide in the death of Rehma Sabir, the one-year-old girl in her care. The charges were dropped following the Medical Examiner’s re-evaluation of the circumstances surrounding Sabir’s death.
Considered a flight risk because of her expired visa, McCarthy’s bail had initially been set at $500,000 and her passport was taken away. She sat in jail for two and a half years awaiting trial.
“What the Middlesex prosecutors did to me was scandalous,” McCarthy told Gelzinis, who wrote that she “literally cried out her words” in rage.
“They should be ashamed of themselves,” she added. “The police and (Dr.) Alice Newton, they just decided right away that I had killed the child. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I loved her and cared for her, 10 hours a day, five days a week. I would take her everywhere on day trips,” McCarthy said.
No one would listen to her, she added, save her family and her lawyers, Melinda Thompson and David Meier.
McCarthy also revealed another previously untold part of her story – the outpouring of support she received from the other families she had worked with.
“They would come every week to visit me,” McCarthy said. “The kids would bring me drawings and little gifts. They were a huge source of support and comfort to me. And they assured me that they would be there, to testify on my behalf when the trial came.”
Now that she is back in Ireland, the charges cleared, McCarthy’s friends and family in her hometown of Lavey, Co. Cavan have vowed to support her and help her settle back into a freely-lived life in Ireland.
People from Aisling Brady McCarthy's hometown are reacting warmly to her return to Ireland.I'll have more on The 5.30 pic.twitter.com/WJOqqr8WDt— Laura Hogan (@LauraHoganTV3) September 2, 2015
“People are delighted with the outcome. There was never any doubt in anybody’s mind around here that Aisling was innocent,” local priest Fr. Kevin Fay told the Irish Examiner.
“They’re a great family, a very strong family, but naturally enough it’s been a nightmare two and a half years, not alone for Aisling but for her family. Family members have been going over and back to Massachusetts. It’s horrible — visiting your loved one in prison — so it’s been very, very hard on them.”
“It’s going to be very hard for her to get back to herself,” added local council member Val Smith.
McCarthy is the fourth of 10 siblings. A number of her relatives, including her mother, Margaret Brady, still live in the area.
McCarthy spent 13 years in Boston, where she married Don McCarthy from Co. Cork.
Earlier this week, shortly after the charges were dropped, she was willingly arrested by US immigration officials so that they could begin the deportation measures that would bring her back to Ireland.