Sunday 23 October 2016

Molly Martens files custody appeal over Corbett children

Children Jack and Sarah with their grandmother Marian Fitzpatrick
Children Jack and Sarah with their grandmother Marian Fitzpatrick

The stepmother of Jason Corbett’s two children is understood to have filed an appeal against a decision awarding guardianship of the children to Jason’s family.

A judge yesterday ruled that custody of Jack (10) and Sara (8) would be awarded to Jason’s sister Tracey and her husband David, following his death.

However the family have been told that Molly Martens has filed an appeal against the decision, which could further delay any return to Ireland of the children.

Plans had been made for the family to return home today – with funeral arrangements being made for Jason, almost three weeks after his death.

Speaking to Keelin Shanley on Radio One this morning, Jason’s brother John slammed the move to appeal the decision.

“They’re going to, we believe, appeal to a high court to delay the journey of my nephew and niece back to Ireland.

Jack and Sarah would have to remain in the United States until the appeal process has been dealt with.

“The passports were handed over to Tracy and David, and they were free to come home.”

“Once Jack and Sarah are back in Ireland, she loses any jurisdiction and any rights of the kids.

“My poor mum and dad are absolutely traumatised.  I was just speaking to them there a few minutes ago.

“You can imagine all the heartbreak we’ve been through over the past 18 days, and my poor brother  still waiting in a funeral parlour in Limerick city waiting for some dignity and decent funeral.”

He said some relatives abroad had made arrangements to return home next week in anticipation of Jason’s funeral.

Ms Martens’ move is only heaping further trauma onto the children, he added.

He said the family hope that any appeal hearings will be expedited by the courts in the US.

The children’s maternal grandmother, Marian Fitzpatrick, today gave her reaction to the yesterday decision, saying: “It is better than winning the Lotto.”

She said she got to speak to the kids this week.

“They sounded fine. I am just out of hospital and I said to Jack and Sarah ‘are you coming home to mind me?’ and they said ‘yes granny’.

“Sarah said ‘I’m going to do your hair and I’ll do your nails’ so that’s something to look forward to,” she added.

She said that it has been a “horrendous three weeks”.

Mrs Fitzpatrick described how her close relationship with Jason continued after the death of her daughter, saying he still considered her his mother-in-law.

Mr Corbett had always kept memories of her daughter alive with the children, showing them pictures and bringing them to visit the grave, she revealed.

“At Christmas time he brought the kids home and surprised us, and I’ll tell you that was the best Christmas present I ever got,” said Mrs Fitzpatrick in an interview on Newstalk radio today.

She told how Sarah was only eight weeks old and Jack was two when her daughter died.

“He [Jason] was only a young man and Margaret died suddenly after an asthma attack. He loved Mags to bits. They were just made for each other,” she said.

The doting grandmother said there is a “long road ahead” for the children.

 “But with the love they are going to get from both families they will come out tops so they will,” she said.

“I hope justice will be done and the Corbett family will get answers.”

She added that she is waiting to hear the arrangements for when the children will be touching down in Ireland.

“When that plane lands we will be there,” she said.

The grandmother said she had returned home from hospital after a hip operation.

“I am going to get well to be able to run around with the kids, and give them hugs and kisses and let them know how much we love them,” she added.


The judge in the US said yesterday he was asked to make a decision on the lives of “two incredibly precious children” who have had to deal with the deaths of both their natural parents.

The judge said he deliberated long and hard over his decision and prayed for the children.

“The named guardians can provide that (care needed) so after much legal research, deliberation, thought and prayer, these children will return to Ireland,” he said.

Mrs Martens Corbett is a suspect in Mr Corbett death. He was found dead at his home earlier this month, bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat.

The judge said he had considered that an investigation into Mr Corbett’s death is still ongoing.

Her father Thomas Martens is the other suspect.

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