Monday 22 January 2018

Aoife murder accused gets psychiatric care in custody

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

A MAN charged with the murder of nanny Aoife Phelan is receiving psychiatric care while on remand in jail.

Robert Corbet (24), of Sheffield, Timahoe Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois, looked dazed as he was brought before a special sitting of Portlaoise District Court.

Bearded and with his hair a mass of curls, the truck driver wore a black suit and an open-necked black and white striped shirt when he appeared before Judge Catherine Staines yesterday.

Mr Corbet, whose family owns a haulage firm, looked shaken and will be seen by mental health professionals while being held at Cloverhill prison, following a request by his solicitor, Declan Breen.

His handcuffs were removed in court for the four-minute hearing, during which he sat gazing at the floor.

Earlier, he had been whisked to court in an unmarked black car, accompanied by detectives, having being held in custody overnight.

Around 60 people gathered outside the courthouse on the main street in Portlaoise as Mr Corbet arrived in a convoy of garda cars shortly before 11am.

He was charged with murdering 30-year-old Ms Phelan at Cappoley, Portlaoise, on October 25.

Gardai said he shook his head and said "no" when asked if he had anything to say to the charge which was brought against him late on Thursday night.

He had been held for questioning over Ms Phelan's disappearance for 24 hours.

Mr Breen said he had two applications to make on behalf of his client.


The first was an application for psychiatric treatment during his detention at Cloverhill.

This was agreed to by Judge Staines.

The second was an application for the provision of legal aid, but this was objected to by Supt Yvonne Lundon on the grounds that "he has his own haulage business".

Judge Staines said the question of legal aid would be dealt with when Mr Corbet appears before Cloverhill District Court on November 15, and added that a statement of means would be required.

After the brief hearing, Mr Corbet was escorted out of court by gardai and driven away as onlookers stood by.

He was heckled by several bystanders, who shouted: "Scumbag!"

One man chased the garda car a short distance down the street.

The funeral of Ms Phelan is due to take place in Ballyroan today.

A post-mortem examination revealed that she died as a result of severe injuries to her head and neck.

Her body was then placed in a bin and covered with rubble in a 10-foot-deep hole.

Irish Independent

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