Jason Corbett's brother says situation is 'beyond comprehension'

Jason Corbett with children Sarah and Jack
Jason Corbett with children Sarah and Jack

John Corbett can't understand how his niece and nephew remain in the guardianship of a woman who is a suspect in his brother's murder.

A decision will not be made on the custody of Jack (10) and Sarah (8) until next week.

They were put into the care of US authorities after their father (39) was killed following a domestic incident in their home.

A guardianship hearing was held in North Carolina yesterday, but the judge said that he would wait until after the weekend before making a decision.

"It beggars belief," John Corbett told Marian Finucane on RTE Radio today, adding that a decision is not now expected until Thursday at the earliest.

"How can it be my nephew and niece’s benefit… to [try to] heal in the company of the person who is a suspect?

"My nephew and niece are with the suspect in my brother’s murder… and it’s beyond all comprehension," he added.

Mr Corbett's sister Tracey Lynch and her husband David flew to the US with a copy of Jason Corbett's will - which they say gives them custody of the children.

The children's mother, Mags Corbett, died in 2006 after suffering an asthma attack.

David Lynch said that they have not been able to contact the children since arriving in the US last week.

"Tracey got to speak to one of them for 10 seconds before she left Ireland," he said.

"Jason's will states that the children are to be put into our care should anything happen to him, and his wishes should be honoured," he added.

Mr Corbett's second wife, Molly Martens Corbett, along with her father Thomas Martens (65), is a suspect in the case.

No arrests have been made following Mr Corbett's death.

Molly Martens Corbett's uncle, Michael Earnest, said that she should get custody of the children. "Family is extremely important to Molly and she would want the extended family to be a part of their lives," he explained.

Yesterday's hearing was closed to the media and spectators, but such hearings are normally open to the public in the US.

Speaking this morning, John Corbett said that Molly Martens had tried to adopt the children on a number of occasions - but Jason had been against it.

"He must have had some concerns not to allow it," John Corbett said, adding that he felt the custody claim by Molly Martens had a dual purpose.

“I feel she wants custody so it will benefit her in the criminal investigation… and also for the very substantial estate of Jason," he said.

Mr Corbett was also critical of how his family was informed of his brother's killing - which came during a short phone call from Molly Marten's mother, Sharon to Jason's twin brother, Wayne. 

“My poor brother was murdered… they didn’t inform us until about 10 hours later," he said.

“Sharon's mother said: 'Wayne, there was an accident, your brother is dead', and hung up. Wayne is traumatised."

He appealed to foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan to intervene in the situation.

Consul General of Ireland Shane Stevens attended the hearing yesterday. "We are working to ensure that the best interests of these young Irish citizens are protected," he said.