Saturday 1 October 2016

Children of Jason Corbett arrive in Ireland in care of slain father's relatives

David Raleigh at Shannon Airport

Published 22/08/2015 | 02:30

Left: Jason Corbett with his children Jack and Sarah. Main: Mr Corbett with Molly Martens Corbett, and David and Tracey Lynch, who now have custody of the children.
Left: Jason Corbett with his children Jack and Sarah. Main: Mr Corbett with Molly Martens Corbett, and David and Tracey Lynch, who now have custody of the children.

The children of slain Limerick man Jason Corbett have touched down in their native Ireland this morning in the care of their father's family, who had fought a bitter custody battle with the children's stepmother in North Carolina.

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Jack (10) and Sarah Corbett (8), along with their aunt Tracey Lynch and her husband David, landed at Shannon Airport off a United Airlines flight at 7:02am.

They were greeted by family members in a private room at the airport before making their way home to Limerick.

The Corbett family are now planning the funeral of Jason Corbett who was found with critical head injuries at his home in the US on August 2nd.

Speaking outside the airport, Tracey Lynch, said they were relieved to be home.

"We're just delighted to be home with the kids and bring them back to Ireland," she told reporters.

Jack and Sarah Corbett with their grandmother Marian Fitzpatrick
Jack and Sarah Corbett with their grandmother Marian Fitzpatrick

"I'd just like some peace so we can bury Jason," she added.

"We don't have any (funeral plans) at the moment," she said.

The family endured a nightmare three-day journey to get home, after adverse weather delayed their dream return to Irish soil.

"It took quiet a while to get back. We had a couple of connecting flights," Ms Lynch said.

"We have no more comment," she said.

David Lynch who had travelled over to North Carolina with his wife to gain custody of Jack and Sarah did not speak to reporters.

Sarah clutched Mr Lynch close as he quickly carried her to a waiting car, while her older brother, who looked solemn, held his aunt's hand as they made their way to the waiting vehicle, driven by a third party.

The family had to take planes, trains and automobiles to get home.

Their odyssey home included two flights, and and a long train journey after their scheduled flights were hampered by adverse weather.

The trip began at 4pm last Thursday and ended just after 7am Saturday morning.

The family initially took a regional flight from Greensborough, North Carolina, onto Washington last Thursday.

However, they then endured a two-hour delay in Washington and ended up missing their connecting flight.

The family then had to take a train journey, which lasted several hours, from Washington to Newark Airport, New York.

They eventually got on United Airlines UA25 which took them home.

John Corbett, the children's grandfather, who greets his grandchildren at the airport said: "I'm very elated, really elated."

"It's really brilliant now altogether."

"I told them I love them," John, 79, said.

Niall Maloney, Shannon Airport Director of Operations said the airport assisted the family in getting home.

"From a humanitarian point of view, we tried to assist the family as much as possible. It's a very difficult time for the family, obliviously they have lost a brother and a son."

"We assisted and got great help and cooperation from United Airlines as well and Shannon based staff too were excellent," he said.

Mr Pakey added: "If I was in trouble myself abroad, I'd like to get any help I could, so we're delighted at the airport to assist them."

"I'm sure they've had trials and tribulations already and they've another tough week to go as a family."

"Shannon Airport is part of the local community, we're community airport and we're just doing what any community would do; we support our own," he added.

Mr Pakey said: "You've a family who've obviously had a very distressing time. You've somebody who's lost a son or somebody who's lost a brother and in a time of need a community does what it does best and supports the community, and we just assisted the family, where possible, in making travel arrangements to get the family home once the custody hearing had been concluded."

"It wasn't just the airport. You must thank the local United Airlines staff for their facilitation and assistance in Shannon Airport for what they did."

He added: "The call started first thing Thursday morning and we went from there."

"We were only a small part of it," he said.

The children's grandmother Rita Corbett, 74, who also greeted them at Shannon Airport said: "I'm overjoyed now to see my daughter and my grandchildren."

"I thought this day would never come. It took so long to happen."

The mother of four boys and four girls said burying her son Jason would be the hardest time in her life.

"That's going to be the hardest to face, my son's funeral. Very hard, I can tell you," she said.

Mr Corbett's funeral arrangements have yet to be made.

Members of Jason Corbett's first wife's family -- the Fitzpatrick's -- greeted Jack and Sarah in Limerick.

Jason's death is the third tragedy to hit the family in recent years.

His first wife Mags, who his family described as his "soul mate", died from an asthma attack in 2006, leaving Jason to rear their two children Jack and Sarah.

Jason's cousin Amanda Corbett, (27), died in 2011 after a long battle with Ehlers Danlos disease leaving behind her toddler son.

Mr Corbett's current wife Molly Martens -- who fought his family for custody of his children -- has lodged an appeal in the US family courts to take back her stepchildren.

The appeal could take up to a year her attorney David Freedman has said.

Ms Martens and her father, Thomas, who is an ex-FBI officer, are both "persons of interest" in the police investigation into her husband's death.

Jason, 39, originally from Janesboro, Limerick, was struck on the head with a baseball bat at his home in North Carolina on August 2nd last.

Irish Independent

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