Remand over Phelan murder
A 24-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Laois woman, Aoife Phelan.
Robert Corbet of Sheffield, Timahoe Road, Portlaoise came before a special sitting of Portlaoise District Court at 11am this morning.
Detective sergeant John Healy told the court that at 11.27pm last night, Mr Corbet, was charged with the murder of Aoife Phelan at Capoley, Portlaoise on October 25th last. When the charge was put to him, the defendant shook his head and said "no", the detective said.
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 he be given psychiatric attention while at Cloverhill.
Superintendent Yvonne Lundon objected to an application for legal aid on the grounds that Mr Corbet owns a haulage business. Judge Staines requested a statement of means from the defendant and said she would consider his legal aid application next week.
Mr Corbet, who is over 6ft tall with a beard and mid-length brown, curly hair, wore a dark suit and a navy striped shirt. He appeared dazed and stared at the ground throughout the hearing.
About 70 onlookers remained outside the court during his appearance. As he was taken away from the court, one man heckled and ran after the car for a short distance.
Ms Phelan was four months pregnant when she disappeared from Colliers View in Portlaoise on October 25th. She had been working in the town as a live-in nanny for a married couple.
Her funeral is due to take place at St Patrick's church, Ballyroan tomorrow.
After the hearing, Aoife Phelan’s family issued a brief statement thanking the gardai for their “tireless work,” and the Ballyroan community whose support they said had “overwhelmed” them.
“Today we are happy to have Aoife back with us, her family”, they said. “Her death has left us sad and heartbroken. She was a loving daughter and sister and we will miss her dearly”.
“We ask now for privacy as we spend our remaining precious time with Aoife today and attend to her funeral tomorrow.”