THE two children of murdered Irish businessman, Jason Corbett (39), have paid a special tribute to him to mark what would have been his 44th birthday.
ack (15) and Sarah (13) Corbett-Lynch paid the emotional tribute as their family vowed to challenge the North Carolina Court of Appeal decision to order a retrial for Molly and Tom Martens who were three years ago convicted of Mr Corbett's murder.
The US father and daughter are serving 20-25 years in prison for the second degree murder of the Limerick father of two on August 2 2015.
They bludgeoned the Irish businessman to death while he slept in his North Carolina home - leaving his two children orphaned.
Ms Martens had married Mr Corbett in 2011 after she met him having worked as a nanny minding his two children in Ireland after their mother and Mr Corbett's first wife, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick, died from a tragic asthma attack.
Mr Corbett had been in the process of bringing his children back to Ireland amid increasing concerns over his wife's mental health and bizarre behaviour.
Now, Jack and Sarah have posted a special tribute to their father to mark what would have been his 44th birthday.
A tribute written by Sarah reads: "You were brave, courageous, funny and kind. You lived and died for us. There are no more 'Happy Birthdays' with us. We love and miss you always."
In a special social media video montage of poignant moments from their life with their father, Jack sings a song in tribute to his father and to highlight what he meant to them.
The musical tribute is entitled: "Our brave and loving protector." Sarah, at just 13, is one of Ireland's youngest best-selling authors having penned a book to help children deal with grief.
Jack is a hugely talented singer-songwriter and has received critical acclaim for some of his performances.
The young man is also an accomplished juvenile rugby player in Limerick and will this summer sit his Junior Cert.
Both are being raised by Mr Corbett's sister, Tracey, and her husband, David, who secured custody of them in the US despite a bid by Ms Martens to retain control of the children.
The Limerick family have waged a tireless campaign for justice for Mr Corbett since 2015 - and to see his killers held to account.
They are now campaigning to back North Carolina prosecutors in having the shock Court of Appeal decision challenged in the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Tracey said her family will now do everything in their power to back Davidson County and North Carolina prosecutors in their bid to have the retrial decision challenged in the North Carolina Supreme Court.
"The truth will not change," she said.
"We all know what happened - Jason was beaten around his head with a brick and baseball bat while he slept in his home."
"Molly and Thomas Martens continued to beat Jason even after he died. Two children were orphaned."
"My brother’s children, Jack and Sarah, had to be sheltered by police from seeing what the Martens had done to their father."
"The autopsy has also not changed. The horrific details of Jason’s death has not changed. The Martens complete lack of injuries at the scene have not changed. The fact that Jason was drugged has similarly not changed."
Tracey said her entire family were devastated by last week's Court of Appeal decision to grant the Martens a full retrial by a majority two-to-one verdict.
"We had not expected this decision - we fully respect the courts in the US. However we are disappointed."
The family said they have struggled to understand the Court of Appeal verdict given the overwhelming evidence against the father and daughter at the original trial.
Both had argued self defence - despite the fact they were totally uninjured at the scene while Mr Corbett had suffered so many savage blows to the head a pathologist was unable to accurately count the number of blows.
"Not once during the five week trial was any evidence offered by Tom and Molly Martens as to abusive behaviour by Jason prior to August 2 2015 when he was drugged and beaten to death."
"Tom Martens, who offered evidence in his own defence, is on record as saying he never witnessed or heard any abusive behaviour by Jason towards Molly in the previous four years of their marriage."
"Molly Martens did not offer evidence in her own defence at her trial - but was perfectly willing to use US television to cast malicious slurs which she did not relate or substantiate from the witness box. She refused to give evidence."
Tracey said the trial had vindicated her brother's good name and what was done to him by his second wife and father-in-law, two people he had trusted.
"It was cathartic to tell the truth, to defend Jason’s reputation and good name," she said.
"However, we must put on record our disgust at the attempts by the Martens family to once again smear Jason's reputation - and to use his beloved children, Jack and Sarah, in a bid to cast doubt on the verdict offered by 12 brave and true North Carolina jurors."
Tracey said her family will now offer whatever support they can to North Carolina prosecutors for a Supreme Court challenge.
"We are confident the Supreme Court appeal will uphold the convictions. We also want to thank people in the US and Ireland for the comments, letters, emails and messages of support. We are so very grateful, It really means so much when so many people are backing you during a horrible time.”
The devastated family have also written to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney for support as they back US prosecutors in seeking a Supreme Court review.