Sunday 17 December 2017

Aoife Phelan murder accused remanded in custody

Robert Corbet
Robert Corbet
Aoife Phelan, who was four months pregnant, had been missing since October 25 (Garda/PA)

Tom Tuite

A LORRY driver accused of the murder of nanny Aoife Phelan in Co Laois in October has been further remanded in custody and will appear again in court in the New Year.

Robert Corbet (24), of Sheffield Cross, Timahoe Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois, had shook his head and said “no” when he was charged last month. He has been accused of murdering the 30-year-old nanny at Capoley, Portlaoise, on October 25 , the date of her disappearance.

Her body was found concealed in a bin buried in a pit on the outskirts of the Laois town on November 7 last.

Two days later Mr Corbet, who knew Ms Phelan, had been remanded in custody following a brief hearing at Portlaoise District Court after which he was heckled. An order was also made that he was to receive psychiatric treatment during his remand in prison.

Mr Corbet, now short-haired and wearing a navy suit and white shirt, appeared again today at Cloverhill District Court before Judge Grainne Malone.

At his first court hearing there had been a Garda objection to free legal aid being granted on the grounds that Mr Corbet owns a haulage business.

However, last month Judge Malone was told that the objection was being dropped as “the haulage business is in the process of being wound up”.

Today at Cloverhill District Court, defence barrister Colm Hennessy consented to a request by Detective John Healy for a four-week remand.

Judge Malone remanded Mr Corbet, who did not address the court, in continuing custody to appear again on January 10.

The lorry driver was first arrested by Gardaí on Monday, November 5 in connection with the disappearance of Aoife Phelan who was from Ballyroan in Co. Laois.

He was released without charge shortly before midnight on Tuesday, November 6 last.

But after Aoife’s body was discovered following a dig at Timahoe Road the next day, he was re-arrested and charged.

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