Hundreds attend removal of Jason Corbett in Limerick

Hundreds attend removal of Jason Corbett in Limerick

Hundreds of mourners have turned out in Limerick tonight for the removal of slain Jason Corbett who's Irish children were at the centre of a bitter custody battle in the US for nearly three weeks.

Mr Corbett was found with critical head injuries at his home in Wallburg, North Carolina, on August 2nd last.

Police believe he was beaten about the head with a baseball bat.

Mr Corbett's wife Molly Martens and her father Thomas Martens, an ex FBI officer, are persons of interest in the investigation into the Limerick man's death, however neither have been officially named as suspects.

Following a traumatic custody battle in North Carolina, Mr Corbett's children Jack, aged ten, and Sarah, aged eight, returned to their native Limerick last Saturday with their aunt and uncle in law Treacy and David Lynch.

The children's stepmother, Ms Martens, who fought for their custody, had lodged an appeal against the court's decision.

Mags Fitzpatrick, the children's mother, died in 2006 from an asthma attack, leaving Jason to rear their two children.

From 5pm this evening a large crowd began gathering in queues outside Cross's Funeral Home where Mr Corbett's remains were reposed to Our Lady Queen of Peace, Janesboro.

The father of two, whose children were not present in the funeral home, was laid out in a closed solid mahogany casket.

A plaque containing Mr Corbett's photograph was laid on top of the coffin surrounded by floral tributes, including one decorated in white roses, on behalf of his children, which simply read: "Daddy".

The 39-year old's body was repatriated from the States last Thursday week to Cross's Funeral Home where his remains had been kept in a specially designed chamber for the past three weeks.

Hundreds attend removal of Jason Corbett in Limerick

Niall Collins, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on justice, who attended tonight's removal, said he had played a small role in helping the family after they appealed to "official Ireland" to support them during their custody battle.

After meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, the family and child agency Tusla provided the US family courts with documentation in support of Treacy and David Lynch.

"I got in my car and went up to (Dublin) to meet Charlie Flanagan last Saturday week in relation to it, to impress upon him the importance of it. So, we all played our part in relation to it, because the family were frustrated," Deputy Collins said.

Cllr James Collins, who was a friend of Ms Fitzpatrick's said: "Mags was in business beside me in 'Daydreams Creche' and my kids attended, so I'm here to day to pay my respect to the Corbett family and their extended family, and of course their children."

Local TD Willie O'Dea called on people to continue to provide financial assistance to the Corbett family who face ongoing legal and travel bills.

Mr Corbett is to be laid to rest on Wednesday, beside his "soulmate" Ms Fitzpatrick.

A piper will play and two white birds will be released into the air at Castlemungret Cemetery following midday requiem mass.

"It's to signify that Jason and Mags are finally together, as they always wanted to be," John Corbett, a brother of the deceased, said.

Ms Fitzpatrick's sister, Catherine, added: "We just want to lay him to rest with her. It's what he would have wanted," she said.

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