News Courts

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Man (25) goes on trial for murder of nanny Aoife Phelan

Published 13/05/2014 | 13:47

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Missing Person Aoife Phelan Portlaoise - see story by Breda Heffernan / Cormac McQuinn
Aoife Phelan
Aoife Phelan

A 25-year-old man has gone on trial charged with the murder of nanny Aoife Phelan in Co Laois in 2012.

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Robert Corbet, from Sheffield Cross in Co Laois, denies the murder but admits the manslaughter of Ms Phelan.

He admits to her manslaughter between October 25 and November 7 of 2012.

The manslaughter plea has not been accepted by the prosecution.

The court was told by prosecuting counsel Isobel Kennedy that the 30-year-old nanny was reported missing by her parents on October 26 2012, after she had not turned up for work.

Ms Phelan was last seen leaving a friend’s house on the evening of October 25 at around 8pm.

Mr Corbet was arrested on November 5 2012 after giving a witness statement.

He told gardai that the pair had met at a club in Portlaoise in June, and had been texting and had some sexual contact after.

Some time after that, Ms Phelan told Mr Corbet that her period was late.

Mr Corbet claims she expressed a desire for a relationship with him however he was reluctant.

He admits collecting her from her friend’s house on the evening of October 25.

He said he brought Ms Phelan to a garage at his home and they began arguing about the relationship. He claims she was ‘pushy’ about the relationship.

Mr Corbet admits that he snapped and repeatedly struck her, before dumping her body.

He says he had caught her around the neck with his forearm until she was motionless, then put a black sack around her head, tied it with cables and disposed of her body.

Ms Phelan's body was found on Mr Corbet's land at his home at Capoley in Co Laois and he was arrested again on November 7.

The jury, of three women and nine men, heard the cause of Ms Phelan's death was asphyxia with blunt force trauma to the head and chest.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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