Portlaoise man charged with murder of Aoife Phelan

Robert Corbet who is accused of murdering Aoife Phelan.

Robert Corbet who is accused of murdering Aoife Phelan.

TWENTY-four year old Robert Corbet who is charged with the murder of four months pregnant Laois au pair Aoife Phelan appeared before a special sitting of Portlaoise District Court this morning.

Corbet, with an address at Sheffield Cross, Timahoe Road, Portlaoise, was charged with murdering Aoife on Thursday, October 25 at Capoley, Portlaoise.

In evidence, Detective Sergeant John Healy said that in reply to being charged at 11.27pm in Portlaoise Garda Station last night, the defendant shook his head and said no.

Dressed in a suit and striped shirt, Mr Corbet, who possesses long corkscrew curled hair and a beard, kept his head bowed and didn’t speak during the brief court hearing.

Det Sgt Healy applied for the defendant to be remanded in custody to Clover Hill prison until Thursday, November 15.

Solicitor Declan Breen asked Judge Catherine Staines to ensure Mr Corbet received pyschiatric attention and he also requested for legal aid to be applied.

In regard to legal aid, Superintendent Yvonne Lundon pointed out to Judge Staines that the defendant operated his own haulage business.

Judge Staines remanded Corbet in custody to Clover Hill prison and recommended that he receive psychiatric treatment.

With regard to Solr Breen’s application for legal aid, Judge Staines said she would have to receive a statement of means before finalising her decision.

There was a significant Garda presence around the Court building.

And when Corbet emerged from a rear exit and was escorted hurriedly on his journey to prison, angry members of the public gathered on the street outside roared ‘scum bag’ and ‘murderer’ at the patrol car as it travelled away from the courthouse down Main Street.

Corbett was initially arrested by Gardaí on Monday, November 5 in connection with the disappearance of four months pregnant Ballyroan au pair Aoife Phelan.

Garda conducted intensive searches for Aoife at the sealed-off Timahoe Road property and at the River Barrow near Monasterevin throughout Tuesday before the searches were wound down that evening.

Corbett was released without charge shortly before midnight on Tuesday.

However, after the discovery of Aoife’s body following a planned dig at Timahoe Road on Wednesday, November 7, he was re-arrested by investigating Gardaí and subsequently charged.

Aoife will be laid to rest tomorrow (Saturday, November 10) following 2pm requiem mass in St Patrick’s Church, Ballyroan.




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