Thursday 27 October 2016

Orphaned Corbett children say farewell to dad they adored

Hundreds of mourners attended today’s funeral of slain Irishman Jason Corbett, whose children were at the centre of a bitter custody battle in the US for nearly three weeks.

Mr Corbett (39) was found dead at his home in Wallburg, North Carolina, on August 2.

Police believe he was beaten about the head with a baseball bat.

His wife, Molly Martens, and her father, Thomas Martens, a former FBI officer, are “persons of interest” in the investigation into the Limerick man’s death, though neither has been officially named as a suspect.

Following a traumatic custody battle, Mr Corbett’s children, Jack (10) and Sarah (8), returned to Ireland on Saturday with their aunt, Treacy Lynch, and her husband, David.

The children’s stepmother, Ms Martens had lodged an appeal against the court’s decision.

Mags Fitzpatrick, the children’s mother, died in 2006 from an asthma attack.

Family members and friends were among those attending today’s funeral at Our Lady Queen of Peace church in Janesboro.

Last night, a large crowd gathered outside Cross’s Funeral Home where Mr Corbett’s remains reposed.

He was laid out in a closed mahogany casket. A plaque containing his photograph was laid on top surrounded by floral tributes, including one made of white roses, on behalf of his children, that read simply “Daddy”.

Mr Corbett will be laid to rest beside his “soulmate” Mags.

A piper was to play, and two white doves were to be released into the air at Castlemungret Cemetery following the funeral.

“It’s to signify that Jason and Mags are finally together, as they always wanted to be,” said John Corbett, a brother of the dead man.

Ms Fitzpatrick’s sister, Catherine, said: “We just want to lay him to rest with her. It’s what he wanted.”

Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins, who attended the removal, said he had played a small role in helping the family after they appealed to “official Ireland” to support them during their custody battle.

After meeting Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan, the family and child agency Tusla provided the US family courts with documentation in support of Treacy and David Lynch.

“I got in my car and went up to Dublin to meet Charlie Flanagan last Saturday week in relation to it, to impress upon him the importance of it because the family were frustrated,” said Mr Collins.

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