Monday 24 October 2016

US judge gives children of slain Irishman Jason Corbett back to his family

Undated photograph of the late Jason Corbett with his children Sarah and Jack.
Undated photograph of the late Jason Corbett with his children Sarah and Jack.
Jason Corbett

The children of slain Irish man Jason Corbett are to given over to be cared for by his sister Tracey, an American judge has ruled.

Jack (10) and Sarah (8) were under the care of their step-mother, Molly Martens, after their father was found bludgeoned to death in the bedroom of his home on August 2.

Martens and her father, Thomas Martens (65) are named as 'persons of interest' in the death of Jason Corbett.

A custody battle has been ongoing between the relatives of Mr Corbett and Ms Martens, who wanted to adopt the children.

The children's birth-mother, Mags, Mr Corbett's first wife, died following an asthma attack in 2006.

However, Mr Corbett had decreed in his will that in the event of his death his children should be cared for by his sister, Tracey Lynch and her husband David.

Read more: Hundreds attend vigil for children in US custody battle after murder

A hearing for guardianship was held on Friday and a North Carolina official presiding over the case ordered on Monday that the children be taken from the care of Ms Martens, The Irish Daily Mail reports.

The order stated that Clerk of Davidson County Superior Court, Brian Shipwash, who was presiding over the case, had "determined it is in the best interest of the minor child that to appoint applicants Tracey and David Lynch, paternal aunt and uncle, as guardians of the minor child."

On foot of the order officials from the Department of Social Services travelled to the address in Munroe, North Carolina, where Ms Martens was staying with the children, and removed them from her custody.

The Daily Mail reports that the Handing over was 'tense' and Martens had to hand over the passports of both children.

The children were brought to the Davidson Department of Social Services Office in Lexington, where they waited until they were collected by Tracey and David Lynch on Monday night.

Read more: Jason Corbett's father-in-law told 911: 'I struck him with a baseball bat'

Under the terms of the order, Ms Martens was granted one hour with the children yesterday, in a supervised visit at Davidson County Court.

Under the order from Mr Shipwash, all concerned parties have to attend a custody hearing tomorrow morning, where it is expected that the judge in charge of the guardianship case, Jude April Woods, will dissolve the hearing in light of Mr Shipwash's ruling.

The children will have to stay in North Carolina until then, but the ruling will bring the Lynches one step closer to bringing the children back with them to Limerick.

Read more: Corbett's second wife tried to adopt children

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