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Corbet caged for life over brutal murder of nanny Aoife (30)

AOIFE Phelan was beaten and strangled by trucker Robert Corbet after she became a complication in his plans to reunite with his ex-girlfriend.

Corbet (25) is today beginning a life sentence for the brutal murder of the 30-year-old nanny in 2012.

Aoife’s heartbroken parents Betty and Michael were in the Central Criminal Court to see Aoife’s killer convicted.

Her brother Daire delivered their victim impact statements.

Betty said she didn’t recognise her daughter when she went to identify her, as her face was black and blue.

She said the extent of her injuries meant Aoife had to have a closed casket at her funeral.

Michael said the proudest day of a father’s life was to walk his daughter down the aisle, but he said this day had been taken from him.

Corbet (25), of Capoley, Sheffield Cross, Portlaoise, had pleaded not guilty to murdering the Ballyroan native in his garage. The haulier admitted her manslaughter between October 25 and November 7, when her body was found.

His trial heard that they had met a few months earlier and that she had soon told him that she was pregnant with his child.

The jury saw transcripts of some of the thousands of phone messages between them. Some of these referred to the pregnancy and in one he suggested a name for the baby.

Corbet testified that he had his doubts about the pregnancy because he had no medical proof. He said he questioned her about it on the evening of October 25 while they were in his garage.

He said she threatened to ruin his life, business and reputation if he didn’t face up to it and that these threats caused him to snap.

MOTIONLESS

He admitted striking her over the back of the head and strangling her. According to Corbet she was motionless by the time he covered her head with a plastic bag and tightened two cable ties around her neck. He told gardai that he had done this to make sure she was dead.

He then put her body in a barrel. He said he rolled that barrel into a pit on his property the following morning. Corbet admitted that he later asked unsuspecting friends to fill in the pit.

Corbet then flew to New York to visit his former girlfriend as planned. He agreed with gardai that Ms Phelan had been a complication and barrier to him getting back together with her.

Ms Phelan’s parents reported her missing that day and gardai contacted Corbet in New York.

He denied involvement while there and on his return. He made admissions only after detectives put his phone records to him. He continued to lie about the location of her body, only telling the truth after they excavated the crime scene.

A post-mortem showed that Ms Phelan died of asphyxia due to strangulation, with blunt force trauma a contributory factor. She was not pregnant.

The defence had asked for a verdict of manslaughter by reason of provocation arising out of Ms Phelan’s alleged threats.

The jury reached a majority guilty verdict.

Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan imposed the mandatory life sentence on Corbet.

hnews@herald.ie


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