MURDERED Irish businessman Jason Corbett had a bag packed at his North Carolina home and was preparing to take his two children back to Ireland when he was beaten to death in his sleep by his American wife and her father.
The bag – which contained clothing for his children, Jack and Sarah – had mysteriously vanished from the murder scene when Davidson County Sheriff Department officers arrived at Mr Corbett’s home in the early hours of August 2, 2015.
Mr Corbett’s wife, Molly Martens (34), and her retired FBI agent father, Thomas Martens (67), are now serving 20 to 25- year sentences in high security North Carolina prisons for the brutal second-degree murder of Mr Corbett.
Their murder trial heard traces of a sedative prescribed to Ms Martens were found in Mr Corbett’s system – and that he had suffered such horrific damage to his skull after being struck by a metal baseball bat and concrete brick that a pathologist could not count the precise number of blows inflicted.
It has now been revealed in a new book by Mr Corbett’s sister, Tracey Corbett-Lynch, that her brother was murdered just hours before he had planned to bring his children, Jack and Sarah, back to Limerick.
‘My Brother Jason’ is published today by Gill Books. The book will be serialised in the Irish Independent tomorrow.
Ms Corbett-Lynch will appear on RTÉ’s ‘The Late Late Show’ tonight to discuss the book, all the proceeds of which will go towards her brother’s orphaned children.
The book reveals that Mr Corbett had been researching flights back to Shannon for himself and his two children – but the computer on which he had been checking the flights also vanished from his Panther Creek Court home in North Carolina.
The computer was never found. His mobile phone similarly vanished from his property.
Mr Corbett made the decision to bring the children back to Ireland after a relentless campaign by his second wife for her to be allowed to adopt the two children who were born to his first wife, Margaret ‘Mags’ Fitzpatrick (30), who died of an asthma attack in 2006.
The book also detailed the breakdown in the relationship between Mr Corbett and Ms Martens, who had a long history of mental health issues.
The Tennessee-born woman, whom Mr Corbett met when she flew to Ireland to work as a nanny for his children, had secretly gone to a divorce lawyer just weeks after she married the Irish businessman in June 2011.
Her primary query was what custody rights she had to Mr Corbett’s two children by his first wife.
Mr Corbett steadfastly refused to allow Ms Martens to adopt his children amid concerns over her mental health.
Both his children had been told in the days before his death they would be moving back to Ireland.
Ms Corbett-Lynch also revealed an insurance policy payable on Ms Martens’s husband’s death had been altered in the months before August 2015.
The policy had, on her brother’s insistence, listed his two children as well as his American wife as beneficiaries, Ms Martens getting 50pc and his two children 25pc each.
However, the policy was changed – remotely by computer a few months before the murder – so that Ms Martens was the sole beneficiary at the time of her husband’s death.
Incredibly, Ms Martens had also hidden recording devices throughout their home – even under the driver’s seat of her husband’s car.
One of the recording devices was discovered by one of Mr Corbett’s children, who thought it was a lost mobile phone.
Ms Martens had also repeatedly complained to neighboursabout how Mr Corbett treated her – despite the fact that, in the 10 months before his death, she had spent $90,000 (€80,000) on clothing, meals, holidays and trinkets for herself.
Mr Corbett was so worried about household spending he had pleaded with his wife to adhere to a special budget.
She had also hinted to neighbours she was the victim of domestic abuse – but the book reveals one of Mr Corbett’s children came across Ms Martens deliberating striking herself with a heavy hairbrush so as to leave a bruise.
Some neighbours were so worried by her bizarre claims they considered bringing her allegations to the attention of Mr Corbett in the weeks before his murder.
Just the day before his death, Mr Corbett had been humiliated over his weight by Ms Martens in front of both friends and neighbours – and he was so hurt by her comments he left a local party and went home alone.
His last social media post was about how people would question all the good things about you but believe the bad things without a second thought.
Ms Corbett-Lynch revealed that party humiliation was the final straw for her brother over his wife’s bizarre behaviour and he began plans to bring his children back to Ireland.
Her brother had even begun plans to invest in a business in Limerick.