Man (24) charged with Phelan murder

Sat, Nov 10, 2012, 00:00

A man from Portlaoise has been charged with the murder of Co Laois woman Aoife Phelan.

Robert Corbet (24), Sheffield, Timahoe Road, came before a special sitting of Portlaoise District Court at 11am yesterday.

Det Garda Sgt John Healy told the court that at 11.27pm on Thursday, Mr Corbet was charged with the murder of Aoife Phelan (30), at Capoley on October 25th, the night she went missing.

When the charge was put to him, the defendant shook his head and said “no”, the detective said.

Mr Corbet was dressed in a dark suit, black shoes and a navy and white striped shirt.

Throughout the brief hearing he stared at the ground or straight ahead.

Judge Catherine Staines remanded Mr Corbet in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court next Thursday,November 15th, at 10.30am.

Following an application by the defendant’s solicitor, Declan Breen, the judge granted that Mr Corbet be given psychiatric attention while at Cloverhill.

Garda Supt Yvonne Lundon objected to an application for legal aid on the grounds that Mr Corbet owned a haulage business.

Robert Corbet Transport Ltd has an address at Sheffield, Portlaoise, near the townland of Capoley where Ms Phelan was murdered.

Judge Staines requested a statement of means from Mr Corbet and said she would consider his legal aid application next week.

About 70 onlookers had gathered outside the court before Mr Corbet’s appearance.

He was taken away at speed in an unmarked Garda car. A few in the crowd heckled, with one man shouting and running after the car for a short distance.

Family statement 'Aoife back with us'

“Today we are happy to have Aoife back with us, her family.

“Her death has left us sad and heartbroken. She was a loving daughter and sister and we will miss her dearly.

“We are overwhelmed by the support and the kindness we have received over the past two weeks.

“We would like to thank all the people who helped in searching for Aoife and who have been there for us, especially family members, neighbours, friends and the Ballyroan community.

“We would like to acknowledge the efforts of An Garda Síochána who have worked tirelessly to have Aoife returned to us.

“We ask now for privacy as we spend our remaining precious time with Aoife today and attend to her funeral tomorrow.”