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Monday 21 October 2019

Killer Molly Martens gets new prison job ... on tourism helpline

Inmates offer advice about popular attractions across North Carolina

Convicted: Martens is led from court after being found guilty
Convicted: Martens is led from court after being found guilty

Ralph Riegel

Killer Molly Martens is now working with a prison-based US tourist information service offering holiday advice about North Carolina in a bid to reduce her sentence for the murder of her Irish husband.

Martens (34) works with a special programme within North Carolina prisons where inmates help tourists with telephone queries.

Inmates answer calls from tourists to a freephone number and offer information about holiday attractions, state parks, tourist routes, accommodation, restaurants and special events.

The programme - running for almost 20 years - does not involve inmates identifying themselves as being in prison, and strictly forbids any exchange of personal information.

Tourists are generally unaware they have been talking to convicts.

Strictly supervised, the work programme does allow inmates to have time taken off their sentence.

Tragic end: Martens was given a sentence of 20 to 25 years for the killing of her husband Jason Corbett
Tragic end: Martens was given a sentence of 20 to 25 years for the killing of her husband Jason Corbett

Martens and her father, retired FBI agent Thomas Martens (68), were convicted last summer of the second degree murder of Irish businessman and father-of-two Jason Corbett (39).

Both are now appealing their 20 to 25-year sentences.

Because of her involvement in the approved work programme, Martens now has a scheduled release date from her second-degree murder sentence of August 3, 2037. Without the prison work programme, she would have faced a release date in April 2041.

The North Carolina Correctional Institute of Women has been operating the prison tourism programme for two decades. As well as answering telephone queries, inmates prepare tourism information packs for marketing campaigns.

Jailed: Thomas Martens was convicted last summer
Jailed: Thomas Martens was convicted last summer

About a dozen US states use inmate labour to support the tourism industry.

Martens and her father were convicted by a Davidson County jury of the murder of Mr Corbett, a Limerick-born business executive.

After being attacked by his wife and father-in-law on August 2, 2015, while he was asleep in bed at his luxury North Carolina home, Mr Corbett was left to die on the bedroom floor.

He had been struck repeatedly with a heavy concrete paving brick and a metal baseball bat. Martens and her father were accused by prosecutors of deliberately delaying their call to emergency services to ensure Mr Corbett had died when they arrived.

He had been drugged with a sedative prescribed to his wife just days earlier.

Mr Corbett's sister, Tracey Corbett-Lynch, has written a best-selling tribute to her brother, entitled 'My Brother Jason'. She revealed her brother was preparing to move back to Ireland with his children amid increasing concerns over his wife's mental health issues and erratic behaviour.

Mr Corbett lost his first wife and the mother of his children, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick, when she suffered a tragic asthma attack in November 2006.

Irish Independent

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