A doctor who gave evidence in the Louise Woodward trial has raised question marks over the murder case involving Irish nanny Aisling McCarthy Brady.
Dr. Eli Newberger has told the Boston Herald that old injuries found on the body of little Rehma Sabir will aid defence lawyers when the case goes to court.
Reports in Boston have confirmed that doctors at the Children’s Hospital found evidence of leg and vertebrae fractures that were healing.
The hospital report stated: “The fractures appeared to be 2 weeks to 2 months old on initial impression.”
Experts say the presence of old bone fractures in the one-year-old Cambridge girl have raised disturbing questions about how long she may have been abused.
Doctors are also concerned that past signs of physical distress were missed cries for help.
Injuries to the baby’s left limbs and along her back are estimated to be up to two months old.
The Boston Herald suggests that the injuries are likely to give lawyers for the nanny an opening to suggest the possibility that someone else was the child’s tormenter.
Dr. Newberger, a pediatrician and founder of the child-protection program at Boston Children’s Hospital, said: “Defense attorneys like to see old injuries. It introduces the idea of another person.”
Newberger was heavily involved in the trial in 1997 of British au pair Louise Woodward whose defense team used the discovery of an old wrist injury in 8-month-old Matthew Eappen to raise the possibility that a previous major injury caused a brain trauma, but the devastating effects took weeks to show.
Jurors convicted Woodward of second-degree murder, though a judge later reduced the verdict to manslaughter.
Cambridge prosecutors confirmed on Wednesday that toddler Rehma Sabir suffered massive bleeding in her brain and the back of her eyes.
They added that the collection of severe injuries proves she was violently shaken just before lapsing into unconsciousness on Jan. 14, her first birthday. She died two days later.
The prosecutors also stated that the child was in the exclusive care of McCarthy Brady when the fatal injuries occurred.
Brady’s attorney said her client denies the charges and would never harm a child.
The paper reports that the prosecutor’s statement of probable cause went on to say that Rehma had numerous healing fractures based on radiologic images from Children’s Hospital.
These included several compression fractures in her spinal area, as well as what are called long bone fractures to one of her left forearm bones and the two bones in her left leg.
The report said: “The fractures appeared to be 2 weeks to 2 months old on initial impression.”
Dr. Robert Sege, the medical director of the child protection team at Boston Medical Center, said other medical evidence about Rehma’s injuries indicated that she was abused in multiple ways.
Sege has studied the prosecutor’s report which said that there were ‘bruises to the top of and behind Rehma’s right ear and on her buttocks’.
Sege said the kind of bruises that children typically get if they fall at the playground, for instance, are near prominent bones. He said the location of Rehma’s bruises suggest a twisting of the ear, or other injuries inflicted by others.