herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

'They're my children', says wife of slain Jason after losing custody

Jason Corbett with his children Jack (now 10) and Sarah (now 8)
Jason Corbett with his children Jack (now 10) and Sarah (now 8)
His wife Molly with Sarah in the US

The wife of slain Irish man Jason Corbett has said that her husband's son and daughter are "my children".

"I miss my children, of course I do. They are my children, I raised them for eight years," Molly Martens Corbett (31) told the Herald last night.

Ms Martens Corbett, who is not the children's biological mother, has been described as a person of interest by police in North Carolina investigating Mr Corbett's death.

She fought a custody battle with Mr Corbett's family in an attempt to keep his children Jack (10) and Sarah (8) in the United States.

But the clerk of Davidson County Superior Court, Brian Shipwash, said that it was not in the best interests of the children to award custody to their American stepmother.

Funeral

They were transferred to the care of their aunt Tracey Lynch, who was named by their father in his will as their guardian in the event of his death and they returned to Ireland ahead of Mr Corbett's funeral, which took place during the week.

Ms Martens Corbett said that she has not had any contact with them since.

"I can't imagine what they are going through. I can't imagine that anyone would think that this is in their best interests - to remove them from their mother and their home and their friends," she said.

Ms Martens Corbett also said it was the longest she had gone in eight years without communicating with them.

"I have never gone 24 hours without speaking to my children, without saying 'I love you'.

"They were one and three (when I became their nanny)," she said.

The children's biological mother Margaret Fitzpatrick - Mr Corbett's first wife - passed away in 2006 from an asthma attack. He was laid to rest by her side after an emotional funeral ceremony on Wednesday.

Ms Martens Corbett was married Mr Corbett for more than four years.

His older brother John previously said that she had tried to adopt the children but that Jason was reluctant.

He said this issue had caused friction and arguments between the pair. Ms Martens Corbett has been described as a person of interest by detectives investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of her husband, who was beaten to death with a baseball bat at his home in Panther's Creek Court in Walburg, North Carolina.

Her father Thomas Martens (65) has also been named as a person of interest.

The retired FBI agent with over 30 years' service dialled emergency services at 3am on August 2 to inform them that his son-in-law was dead.

Detectives are treating the incident as "a domestic disturbance" and have said that Mr Martens is claiming he acted in self-defence to protect his daughter.

Since the children returned to their native country, Ms Martens Corbett has posted a series of pictures and comments on her Facebook account.

"This was my 30th birthday and I got to spend it with my favourite people, my children. Do you remember?," she posted yesterday.

"We had a sleepover with your cousins and you made me birthday cakes out of clay on my birthday eve, we went to Jack's soccer game on the morning of my big day and he made two assists, we went to IHOP for breakfast afterwards and had pancakes covered in their variety of syrups."

Fancy

The message is ended with the words "Wherever you are, my love will find you".

In another message she reminisced about the time she brought the children to Dublin.

"Do you remember this trip? I took you both on the train to Dublin.

"We went to Dublin castle, the Leprechaun Museum, to the market, the Chocolateria, Christchurch, the Dublin Zoo, and a night of Irish dancing and music. You were only three and five but you walked for miles and I was so proud.

"We had croissants with Nutella for breakfast one morning and a full Irish breakfast the next morning at the hotel. You thought it was so fancy. Jack, you were sorry you didn't bring your clip-on tie for our five-course meal with the Irish dance and music show.

"If you ever see this, know that I think about you every moment," the message read.

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