Jack and Sarah move a step closer to home

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Jason Corbett pictured with his two children Jack (10) and Sarah (8)
Jason Corbett pictured with his two children Jack (10) and Sarah (8)
Jason Corbett pictured with his two children Jack (10) and Sarah (8)

Andrew Carey

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AS crowds of more than 600 gathered in Limerick in solidarity with the Corbett family for a candlelit vigil, the children of Jason Corbett who was brutally killed in his US home over two weeks ago, moved a step closer to returning to Ireland as developments were unfolding in North Carolina when they were given into the custody of their aunt, Tracey Lynch.

The development, which was still unfolding as the crowds lit over 500 candles and showed support, is said to a huge relief to the children’s relatives in what has been nothing but a “nightmare” and tragic series of events.

With the details and finalisation of a custody court hearing still due this Thursday, Jason’s twin brother¬†has paid tribute to the people of Limerick who turned out in their hundreds on Tuesday night to show their solidarity with his family.

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Wayne Corbett (39) was speaking at a candlelight gathering for his niece and nephew Jack and Sarah Corbett who are at the centre of the bitter custody battle in North Carolina.

Prior to the handover to Tracey Lynch, the children have been in the care of their American step mother Molly Martens since their father was found dead at their home in Panther’s Creek Court, Walburg, on August 3rd last following what police have described as a domestic incident.

Ms Martens along with her father Thomas Martens, a retired FBI agent have been questioned about Mr Corbett’s but no arrests have been made.

“He [Jason] was a great brother a great father, it is just very traumatic what’s happened to the family, both ourselves and the Fitzpatrick family,” said Wayne Corbett.

Over 600 people gathered in front of City Hall in Limerick’s Merchant’s Quay to stand in solidarity beside Jason Corbett’s parents Rita (74) and father John (80) who are waiting for their grandchildren to be returned home.

“It’s actually overwhelming all the support we have had from the whole of Limerick, both tonight and from other fundraising efforts they have done. The whole of Limerick has been very supportive and we thank them very much as a family,” added Wayne who enjoyed a two week holiday with his twin brother just days before his death.

“We are just trying to cope for our elderly parents and then we can bury my brother as he should be buried,” he added.

Michael Corbett who travelled home from North Carolina last week to accompany his brothers remains, which were repatriated with the help of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, said that he hoped the family could finally bury Jason in the near future once the children are returned to Ireland.

“It has been an absolute nightmare for everyone, for my elderly parents, for the Fitzpatrick family, everybody, it’s just a total nightmare.

Thomas, Catherine and Sarah Fitzpatrick the siblings of Jason’s first wife Mags Corbett who died tragically from an asthma attack in 2006 also attended Tuesday night’s ceremony where 500 candles were distributed and prayers said for the Corbett children.

“We are nervous and frustrated at the whole thing, it’s hard enough for the Corbett family to actually deal with what’s happened but they haven’t been able to grieve, We haven’t been able to grieve either. We just want to get the kids back and begin the process,” said Thomas Fitzpatrick.

“They were home at Christmas they surprised my mam and they were home for about two weeks so it was a really lovely Christmas just to have them home for my mother especially.”

An online book of condolences has been opened by Limerick City and County Council and it can be signed at www.limerick.ie/council/jason-corbett-book-condolence