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‘There is a monster lurking underneath’: What Jason Corbett’s children said about Molly Martens

Sarah and Jack Corbett, along with their aunt Tracey Corbett-Lynch, tell the judge ‘there is a monster lurking underneath the exterior’

Jason Corbett’s children Jack and Sarah Corbett, along with Jason’s sister Tracey Corbett-Lynch, delivered powerful victim impact statements in Davidson County Superior Court in Lexington, North Carolina as part of the sentencing hearing for Molly Martens and her father Thomas.

Here are their statements in full:

Jack Corbett’s victim impact statement:

Your Honor, my name is Jack Corbett. I am a 19-year-old college student and I am here today to tell you how the loss of my Dad has impacted my life.


The first thing I want to state clearly is, I was a liar. From the age of 4 – 10 years of age – I was taught how to lie and manipulate people by Molly Martens. During this time, I was abused by Molly Martens in every way you can imagine and then some.

My Dad was taken from me almost 9 years ago in a way no human should have to suffer through.

Everyone I speak to about my life always says “oh it must be so hard to lose a parent at such a young age”. I didn’t just lose a parent. I lost my biggest supporter, my teacher, my protector, my hero but most of all I lost my best friend.

Every single day I wake up with the weight of guilt, loneliness and depression knowing I will never get to see my Dad again. I used to pray at night when I was kid that I would wake up and it would all have just been a bad dream. I’ve had to experience childhood, adolescence, and the beginning of adulthood without my Dad there to guide me.

Luckily my Dad picked two wonderful parents, David and Tracey, to guide me through life. It hasn’t been easy but having them, and the help of my two big brothers, Dean and Adam, and my sister Sarah, made it a lot easier than it could have been.

I didn’t have my Dad when I won my first rugby trophy, or when I got an A on a big test, or when I met my first girlfriend.

I never got to see him proud of me and the feeling of not having him alongside me haunts me in every dream. Every moment I walk this planet and it is so hard.

Everyone talks about trauma and that it takes time to heal. I will never heal. Trauma leaves scars that I will carry until the day I die.

My Dad was the most caring, funny and gentle man you could ever meet. He could light up a room with his smile. He brightened my world and since then my life has been dark. I’ll never hear his voice, feel his warmth or hear that perfect laugh ever again. He will never be there to comfort me on my hard days and will never get to see me on the days where I succeed.

I have felt lost for so long and not really ever knowing where I will end up. I have lost so much of myself. I lost my love for sport. I lost my trust in people and I have lost myself day by day year by year since the day he was taken from me. I constantly second guess myself – not sure if people really care about me. I can’t trust anyone because I can’t even trust myself because of how Molly taught me to lie for so many years. I have to work to see the best in people.

The bright boy and happy kid everyone used to see was buried deep inside of me and I don’t know if he will ever come out again. The tragedy and trauma I have had to deal with growing up destroyed me. Every day I wake up I have the constant feeling of never being enough and punish myself in ways that I know I don’t deserve but I can’t stop myself. I never felt I could call someone my own since I lost my Dad. I am drowning every day in pain. When I was a young teenager, I used to think sometimes it would be easier if I wasn’t here any more and at least that way I could be with my Dad and my mam and apologise and feel safe.

Mask of civility

Your honour, don’t be fooled by this mask of civility of Molly Martens. There is a monster lurking underneath the exterior. She systematically broke me down and drip fed me untruths. I want to be clear: I had never witnessed my Dad hit Molly Martens – EVER. I am not under duress now; I want you to look at me standing here today and know the truth.

The fact that my father’s phone, laptops, computers and hard drives were in Bobby Martens’ house in evidence baggies and not found or admitted to evidence just shows that the entire Marten’s family is complicit in the cover up of the killing of my father. It is a travesty of justice that Molly Martens wasn’t charged with first degree murder as was considered by the DA.

Molly Martens needs to be locked away for as long as possible so she cannot do this to another family, Another child. It is my biggest fear and gives me nightmares. She WILL do it again if she finds the opportunity.

Your honour, I hope you can see me here before you, the trauma that I have experienced and will have to live with until the day I die.

The burden I have felt for most of my life has impacted me in a way that no one should go through. I have had to struggle with this for almost my entire life.

My words were weaponised

I haven’t got the chance to grieve the loss of my Dad. My Dad didn’t deserve to be killed. I have sat here in this court over 8 years since his killing and I have been made to relive it all. Hearing my words being used to try to mitigate the crime committed. My words were weaponised to help Molly and Tom Martens get away with killing my Dad.

My Dad deserved the world. He deserved to grow old and feel love from his family and get to see his kids make him proud but that was taken from him.

I was just a kid. I hope that the people who have done this to my Dad will be held accountable and maybe then will I be able to start to heal and become the man my Dad wants me to be.

I thank you for listening to me today and allowing me to express my thoughts and emotions.

Thank you for listening – Jack

Sarah Corbett’s victim impact statement

Your honour, you know my Dad as the deceased, but he had a name. It was Jason.

He had blue eyes, he worked really hard, he was a good golfer.

He was my baseball coach. He was my soccer coach. He was my biggest supporter.

He tucked me into bed at night. He made me laugh. He made me feel loved and secure.

But most importantly he was just my Dad. Jason Corbett was my Dad. All I ever wanted was to have a father-daughter dance, I will never get that.

He is never going to be there for me when I get my heart broken, or when I graduate. He didn’t even get to see me graduate primary school.

He will never know I wrote a book in his honour. I will never get to tell him how much I admire him. Or how I wish I had his courage.

He will never walk me down the aisle. He will never meet my children, his grandkids. That future was taken from us. Instead, my life is filled with anniversaries of death.

I was 12 weeks old when my mother, Mags, died. I was eight years old when my father was killed by Molly and Thomas Martens, The Martens made me an orphan. They took away my father, my only constant, the only loving parent I had.

Your honour, I wish that you could have met my Dad. He had this big, warm personality. He was so good to others and always tried to make other people’s lives better. When my mother died, to deal with his grief, Dad did good things to help others. I try to help others to deal with MY grief.

You see, my Dad had a life to live. He had a really important job to do – being my Dad – and he loved it. He loved me.

His little princess

My name is Sarah. My Dad explained to me that my name means princess. He would call me ‘his little princess’. He would wrap me in his hugs, read to me, joke with me, and I remember the feeling of being so safe and content. What Molly and Tom Martens took from me; I can never get back.

Sitting inside of this courtroom has been a traumatic experience. Listening to adult’s twist and manipulate the words I said out of fear as an 8-year-old child has been extremely difficult. Your honour, I would like to give you an example of how our truth is being twisted.

When MS Shannon Grubb testified about the park incident where I had no shoes going to school. There was no fight with my Dad. My Dad had already gone to work well before we got up for school. Molly had beaten Jack again and that is why I was hysterical. Molly had left Jack at home instead of bringing Jack to school too, she left in such anger she forgot my shoes. I didn’t want Molly to go home on her own as I was afraid of what she would do to Jack if I wasn’t there to stand up for him. This is an example of how the true situations of my life have been manipulated. You can take any story the defence have created and I can tell you the true horror of what actually happened.

Your honour, her betrayal and infliction of pain continued for years. I was used by her. All I have ever been was a piece on her chess board.

When I got home to Ireland, Molly posted all my images over Facebook and went on the radio to tell people to find me.

Molly Martens took notes I wrote for her when I was younger, and pictures of me as a child, and shared them all publicly on social media for everyone to see. She betrayed me again and again – and even shared a note I left with her, the last time I saw her. And she did all this to get publicity for her lies about my father. There was nothing I could do to stop her. I was eight years old.

She stalked me

I was trying to start a new life in Ireland but she stalked me. She tried to hire a plane to fly a banner over my school in Limerick. The gardaí – the Irish police – were called to the school. Detectives watched over us and our home for a while until her passport was taken away but it didn’t stop her trying to contact me.

Can you imagine being eight years old in your first days at a new school, in a new country, your father has been killed by your stepmother, and everyone is looking at you, the new girl? Can you imagine trying to make friends when you are the troubled girl?

A friend of mine, a girl who sat next to me in school, was contacted by Molly Martens when I was in 6th class, I was 9 years old.

People avoided me in school – they still do. They whisper about me.

She used words I said out of fear against my Dad and my family to get out of jail, and now they are using them to get a reduced sentence. Can you try and understand the effects that can have on a girl growing up from the age of eight to 17?

While my friends are out having fun and going to parties, I am in therapy learning how to live with the fact that I lied and helped their case. I WAS 8 YEARS OLD.

Not once did I say I didn’t love Molly Martens but after her weaponising my love for her and being able to express the abuse I endured because of her, I can stand here today and say I do not love Molly and she is not my mother.

I was hoping there would be a retrial so my truth and my brother’s truth could both be heard. Instead, all we have is this, a victim impact statement.

Who is the victim here? The Martens made my pain so much worse by trying to have the world think my Dad was a bad person. The Martens used social media and television interviews to pretend Molly was the victim, not my Dad. The Martens put little clips of recordings in the media.

I remember those recordings and those events your honour. I remember what happened before – I remember what my stepmother did. I remember my Dad bringing her flowers. He was caring for her, trying to bring her to the bedroom out of our earshot when she had another melt down. I know what Molly Martens is capable of – I remember. I remember I was encouraged to be disrespectful to him, to call him fat but I still felt comfortable enough to shout and express myself at my Dad because I did not fear HIM.

These recordings have been orchestrated and selective just like my words and my brother’s words were coached and doctored when the Martens made us lie about our father. I did it out of love and fear – I now understand how both can exist alongside each other.

I was an orphan, eight years old and totally lost. I said what I was instructed to say. Now those words have helped the Martens escape a murder charge, and helped Molly pretend she’s the victim.

I was used by her. All I have ever been is a piece on her chess board. She taught me how to shoplift, how to vomit, how to be the most convincing liar. I thought Molly loved me but I was just her entertainment, someone who would do anything she said, and be like a doll she could dress up.

No member of the Martens’ family has ever shown me any remorse. I only got betrayed. Molly and Tom Martens have used me – and words I was forced to say as an eight-year-old child – to escape the just consequences of beating my Dad to death.

Molly took off her wedding ring almost immediately and told me to stop crying and “Get over it” in the days after he was killed.

I loved her even after all the abuse she put me through. I had no idea what adoption was, only that she wanted to do it so badly. And worst of all, I trusted her. But she took everything I loved away from me, everything. she took my Dad, the person I am supposed to go to when I need advice. He was supposed to teach me how to drive, He was supposed to watch me grow up. He was supposed to be there when I felt like nobody else was.

The charge they now accept is voluntary manslaughter. I’ve seen my father’s bloody handprint on the door of his bedroom. There was nothing voluntary about his death. I know in my heart he tried to leave that bedroom. He didn’t choose to leave us; he was taken from us. HE was the victim.

I will never get to flip Friday night burgers with him. I will never get to go on car rides singing The House That Built me, or the Streets of New York, from the top of our lungs again.

Panic attacks

The trauma continues, every day in different ways: the sight of an ambulance brings me terror. I have panic attacks when I see them, I have to look away so I can try to breathe normally. I was with my friend and my mom at a concert of my favourite band, when an ambulance passed and I just broke down.

The grief ruins even the special days. My experience shadows my life – every moment of it is changed.

Please do not think I haven’t or do not try to heal – I do your honour. I have done music, dance, and equine therapy and I volunteer to help humble me. I have been in talk therapy for eight years.

In my job, a lady from NC came in and I had a panic attack in the toilet. The female American accent can catch me off guard and send me into a state of panic. She was a lovely lady but my experiences are hard to heal from.

While my friends are out having fun and going to parties, I am 17 years old, and in therapy learning how to live with the fact that I lied and helped the Martens escape full justice for taking my father’s life. No one can tell me different – I am old enough now and read the judgments.

Molly Martens tried to destroy me and my family. She turned me and my brother against each other, being nice to one of us one day and awful the next day, making us compete for her love.

When I was five years old, Molly Martens began her mind games. What kind of mother tells a five-year-old girl that her father killed her birth mom?

When I was six years old, Molly would sit in the bath for hours. She hit herself with a hair brush and had me take pictures.

What kind of mother hides recording devices all over the house?

When I was seven, Molly told me I was allergic to gluten and dairy so all I could eat was veg. I’m not allergic to any food groups.

Her way of punishment was starvation – she just wouldn’t feed us if we did something wrong like, for example, not swimming fast enough in our heat. She would stop speaking to us or turn to violence.

There were many times where I had to drag Molly off Jack, she was hitting him so much. One time, she was hitting him so hard that I jumped on her back using all my body weight to pull her off him but she grabbed me and threw me to the floor and started screaming at us both. I am telling you this to demonstrate the power and control she had over my life.

I treasured a framed photograph that my Dad got me of him and my birth mom, Mags, on their wedding day. Molly threw it down the stairs and screamed at me that SHE IS DEAD I’M YOUR MOTHER‚ THAT WOMAN IS DEAD. I was seven years old. When my Dad came home and saw the broken glass and me trying to clean it up, I told him that I tripped. He finished clearing it up and gave me a hug. That’s just how kind he was.

No remorse

She broke my family down piece by piece and then killed my Dad with no remorse.

I loved my stepmother even after all the abuse she put me through. I didn’t know anything else. I thought that was just how all families were back then.

It was only when I went to live with Tracey and David in Ireland that I knew the true meaning of family. I now know what a loving mother is. I’ve always known a loving father and Dave is that now too.

Molly took everything I loved away from me ... everything. My Dad. The person that gave me my name, and my chubby fingers, the colour of my eyes, my loud laugh, my singing voice and even the shape of my head.

She took away the person I am supposed to go to when I need advice.

Dad was supposed to teach me how to drive. He was supposed to be there for my Holy Communion and my Confirmation. He was supposed to be there for my first day of secondary school. He was supposed to watch me grow up. He was supposed to be there when I felt like nobody else was.

I was eight years old when that was taken from me.

My Dad used to tuck me in every night. He would do “as snug as a bug in a little tiny rug.” He’d leave my bedroom door cracked so I didn’t get scared at night and he was always there to take care of me when I had a nightmare. My Dad was my hero. He always will be. When I woke in the mornings, he would greet me and my brother with the saying “boogawooga” in his booming voice, and laugh his loud laugh. It made me laugh and I felt safe and loved. I will never feel that security again in this world.

I am 17 and I need you to listen and believe me as I stand on front of you right here and now. Me, MY VOICE, unencumbered by fear. I am begging you to restore my faith in justice, in humanity, and give me time to heal without sharing the free world with my father’s killers.

On 2nd August 2015 – I said “goodnight, Daddy love you” – and when I woke up the next morning he was gone forever.

Just like that, I had to leave, house, home, community and country. I will never come to terms with that. I will never get to hug him one last time or hear my Dad say ‘I love you, princesses to me again. I will never jump into his arms off the stairs again or run into his room on the weekends and wake him up again.

I am so lucky I have a loving family that will go to the ends of the earth for me and my brother. We are lucky and grateful for what Tracey, David, Adam, and Dean have done for us. Not only were we provided a home by them, they loved us like their own from the day we were reunited. They have supported me when I have completely broken down. And they have cheered me on when I have successes; especially Tracey, my mom, the only real mother figure I have ever known. She has let me be myself and learn about the world and form my own opinions. That is family and that is love. That is what my Dad would want. He loved me unconditionally.

Judge, I plead with you to give the maximum sentence for the people who killed my Dad. I have to live with never seeing my Dad again and there is nothing you can do about that, but you can control this, you can give me and my brother a chance to have a life worth living, not just existing.

Next year I am due to begin my BA in criminal justice, it will take four to six years, I want to change the world for the better. I want to do good in the world. I am asking you to let us adjust and get out from under this. Please, my Dad’s life is worth more than a few years in prison.

He didn’t want to die, I needed him and I will always live with a huge gash in my heart where my Dad used to be, I will never stop fighting for justice for other families.

I’m just asking you to choose justice for my Dad who was taken from me when I was 8. I am 17 now and I have been waiting half of my life for justice for my Dad.

I believe in the justice system; I am innocent of any crime but I have lived under this crime for more than half of my life. I am pleading with you to give me my freedom by giving the maximum possible sentence to Molly and Thomas Martens.

Judge, you didn’t have the pleasure of meeting my Dad, Jason Corbett. Two weeks before he died, we pulled up in a Sheetz. There was a woman there and her three kids were crying. She had no money. My Dad filled her car with gas and bought her groceries for her children. I think of my Dad all the time and when I think of him, I remember his kindness.

I am proud to be the daughter of such a kind and gentle man. I am proud to be Jason Corbett’s daughter.

Tracey Corbett Lynch’s victim impact statement

My name is Tracey Corbett Lynch. Jason Corbett was my brother and one of the most important and influential people in my life.

The past eight years have been a total nightmare for my family – a rollercoaster of anguish, betrayal, grief, loss, fear, disappointment but ultimately also of hope.

On August 2nd 2015 my world came crashing down around me. I was on a holiday in France with my family when I learned of the violent death of my brother Jason at the hands of two people he should have been able to trust most in life, his second wife, Molly, and his father-in-law. I have been struggling to find peace, hope, and justice ever since.

When Dave and I arrived back in Ireland with Jack and Sarah on August 20th 2015 after a fraught guardianship and custody hearing, Jack thought his Dad would be waiting for him. I was never allowed to spend time closely with Sarah in the preceding two years so I didn’t know her. Molly Martens did not allow it. From that day to now, there have been many nights and days spent holding Jack and Sarah in my arms as they beg me to “please just tell me why” or “ bring my Daddy back”. It would bring a tear from the most hardened heart. I have tried with all my heart to provide them both with love, safety, and security.

Cup half-full attitude

Jason was my brother. He was a loving father, a devoted husband and a loyal friend. He had a great singing voice, loved golfing, and had a ‘cup half-full’ attitude to life. It got him through the devastating loss of his first wife, Mags, and made him a better husband to his second wife, Molly. He knew how to love and what it was like to lose the love of his life.

Soul mate

After Mags died, he visited her grave daily, sometimes multiple times a day. He would visit her grave on his lunch break and read the newspaper to her. He left cards and notes on her grave telling her how their children Jack and Sarah were progressing, and how much he was lost without her. I have kept all those cards and notes, and they show a man lost without his soul mate, but also a man committed to raising Jack and Sarah in the best way possible.

His inherent decency, loyalty, and faith in the goodness of others was his strength and his biggest vulnerability. He never wanted to give up on people – including Molly Martens. We firmly believe that, had he given up on her, he would still be alive today. His children Jack and Sarah were the fulcrum of his life. He wanted a mother for his children and a wife to care for and come home to.

Jason wanted to love and be loved. He liked to provide and care for those in his world. When Molly Martens came into his life, he thought she would be a good mother to Jack and Sarah. He fell in love with Molly and uprooted his family to move to United States, believing this was what Molly wanted, and what would be best for the children. Even when there were warning signs and he discovered just before they got married that Molly was taking Lithium for a bipolar disorder and had been lying about knowing Mags – even claiming that Mags had asked Molly on her deathbed to raise her children – Jason remained committed to Molly. He wanted to help her and didn’t want to have the children lose ‘another mother’. This all came from Jason’s fundamental belief in the goodness of others. He always tried to see the best in people.

Like everyone else in life, Jason was not perfect, but I know, as he was my best friend as well as my brother, that he was a kind, gentle, loyal and decent human being who instilled these values in his children, and exhibited them consistently in his actions. He was absolutely not the man the defendants tried to depict in the cruel and fabricated narrative they spread to the public. To serve their own ends, they tried to destroy the good name of the man whose life they had just taken. For his children, his family, his friends and work colleagues, this is just as cruel and devastating as taking his life. Jason never showed physicality to anyone in my life experience, ever.

We grew up in a large, loving family. We didn’t have financial security growing up, but our parents never spared us their love. They instilled in us the importance of education and working hard. J was dedicated to creating a better pathway in life than we had growing up in terms of his academic and work achievements.

Jason, like myself, worked hard and went to college at night. We could not afford the fees for college or to live without an income. He worked his way up through his company, beginning as a general operative. He studied, graduated, and progressed to the senior management position he held in MPS-Westrock. He maintained the most affable, professional and can-do attitude, a demeanour that got things done and brought people along. His work colleagues respected and admired him. Maybe it was because he started on the lowest rung, as a general operative, that he always went out of his way to ensure everyone in the company felt included and important. He gave every one of the people who reported to him equal respect, and valued each of their contributions. He did not have an adversarial temperament and managed to become a fantastic leader by treating everyone equally and fairly.

Betrayal and violence

My brother loved Ireland but he also adored the United States. He loved the country, the people, the culture and above all the ‘can do’ attitude. His move from our native Limerick to North Carolina was supposed to offer him and his two children a fresh start after the tragic loss of Mags – to leave the sadness behind in the Old World. Little did my brother realise that tragedy, betrayal and violence lay ahead for him – and that his two children would be orphaned by two people who were supposed to protect, love them and put their best interests first.

Jason’s colleagues at MPS in Lexington were genuinely devastated by his death. Jason was so well respected for his fairness, even employees who had to be rebuked or disciplined for poor performance respected Jason for how he handled things. Once, J had to be a witness against an employee who had falsely claimed compensation for an injury the employee claimed to have sustained at work. Even though the employee lost his claim, he retained huge respect for Jason. That same man wrote to me after Jason was killed offering a character testimony. He said Jason was a decent, kind, and good person, who had always treated him with the utmost respect, even in the most trying of circumstances. He was so highly thought of that MPS created a special memorial to him at their Lexington plant. Sarah and Jack returned last week and held an event as part of North Carolina’s Domestic violence.

J’s first girlfriend was Tamera Keane. Even though Jason and she had gone their separate ways, Tamara was bridesmaid at my wedding because she and Jason had remained such firm friends. Jason was best man at my wedding to Dave, he attended with his new girlfriend Aisling. Tamera was accompanied by her new beau who she later married. Tamera was willing to testify to the strength of their friendship. Aisling and Jason went their separate ways but remained friends also. Jason then met Mags who was the love of his life. He became a romantic! He wrote beautiful poetry that he left in a suitcase full of memories of his and Mags’ life together. I would like to give you two to read – they are Jason’s words.

When Mags died of an asthma attack, he was overwhelmed with grief. He had two young children to raise without a mother. Sarah was only 12 weeks old and Jack was just two. Yet, for Jason, healing came by being a good Dad and helping others. He helped to raise €30,000 for the Asthma Society of Ireland. He wanted to spread as much education and awareness of asthma as possible, so that no one else would suffer the loss of a loved one like he had. He was a man who loved his wife and children. He loved a singsong, and was famous on shared holidays with family or friends for his party piece – singing ‘Maybe’ the theme song from Grizzly Adams. He loved his job, his colleagues, and the simple satisfaction of a job well done.

Fractured and devastated

The loss of Jason fractured and devastated our family. To witness the pain of my parents was nothing short of heartbreaking. Mam was very religious and prayed for solace but she didn’t find it – up to the time she died, she would often expect to see Jason walking in through the front door. She died in the knowledge that Tom and Molly Martens had succeeded in overturning the Davidson County Superior Court second degree murder conviction – and that even the small comfort of justice for her slain son was denied her. My father was inconsolable and, to this day, has still not recovered from being robbed of his beloved son. My mother died lonely, pining for her son and trying to comprehend the cruelty of the world. Dad turned 87 in September. I love him dearly but I fear he is already dead inside and now passing the days until he is reunited with his beloved son and my mother. In losing Jason, they lost themselves and they lost each other.

The children that Molly and Tom Martens professed to love, who called Tom Martens ‘Granda’ and who called Molly ‘Mom’ will forever be haunted by their crimes. Jack and Sarah loved them. It is impossible to articulate the sheer enormity of the impact of Jason’s killing on our entire family. But it has particularly struck hard on Jack and Sarah. Your honour, you know the evidence – you have heard and read about the stark contrast between the forensic evidence and what Tom and Molly claimed. How their recollection of events was entirely self-serving – and how everything that pointed to their guilt was either ignored or denied. The defendants’ subsequent actions after killing Jason further compounded our ability to move forward, heal and come to terms with the brutal beating to death that Jason received.

All of us have suffered physically, mentally and emotionally; none more so than Sarah and Jack. I continue to receive hate mail from the defendants’ supporters. I wish I could effectively convey how an ordinary or special day can be ruined by this experience over the past eight years. Our lives are marred daily by the taint of the crime committed by Molly and Tom Martens. The fight for justice has been equally brutal. Living with the loss of a parent through murder is an unimaginable tragedy that inflicts deep mental anguish and emotional pain. The shattering reality of knowing that a loved one has endured such a violent and undeserved fate can be soul-crushing. What intensifies this anguish even more is the absence of justice. I bear witness to it every day.

I have seen it in our four children – that without the closure and accountability that justice brings, they have been left grappling with a myriad of emotions, ranging from anger and frustration to profound sadness and hopelessness. The constant reminder of the unresolved crime and the fact that the perpetrators are again walking free while Jason is dead. It perforates the children’s hard-won sense of peace with vulnerability and fear.

Coping with the loss of a parent through murder, particularly when justice remains elusive, is an arduous journey that demands immense resilience and support. You can rest assured that we will, as a family, continue to support Jack and Sarah. Your honour, no matter what sentence you hand down to Tom and Molly Martens, we are the ones who will continue to serve a life sentence. Molly and Tom Martens have had eight years more of life than Jason has had with his precious children. If he was here today, he would be 47 years of age. The absence of Jason, who was the only constant parent in Jack and Sarah’s life after their mother died, has left a void in their life that no one else can fill. Half of their young lives I constantly feel a deep sense of loneliness and heartache from them. When they are with their friends, with their friends’ families, it reminds them of what they have lost, of how beautiful a normal family life can and should be. They see in others how their life should have been, and the unfairness of that loss is unrelenting for them. I watch and see how they feel like a piece of them is missing, and I am left trying to figure out how to support them in this world on their own.

Fear and anxiety

The impact of losing their father to homicide has deeply affected their emotional wellbeing. I see their fear and anxiety, worrying that someone else they love could be taken away from them in the same way. I cannot leave them for very long, even as teenagers. After eight years of ongoing therapy and counselling, they still have nightmares and struggle with trust issues, often questioning the intentions of others. Their once exuberant personalities, their vibrant and carefree selves, died that night too, and despite all their work with therapists, their lives remain indelibly tainted by their father’s killing.

Your honour they HAD begun healing, but the release of the Martens in 2020 destabilised and shattered all their hard-won progress. Over the past two years, Sarah has stopped singing, which she adored. You never hear her chirpy voice, laughter is rarer in our home. She used to do funny TikToks – they are no more. Jack who is a poetic writer of music and songs has relegated this passion and no longer seems interested. He doesn’t play sports any longer and has struggled with his mental health enormously. I worry the entire time about their wellbeing. Dave and I and their siblings do everything we can to mitigate the impact on them, and have given everything in our power to try and get justice for their father. This letter is the last act in that struggle for justice and closure, a final hope for accountability for the unlawful killing of their father.

The defendants did not just take the life of my dear brother, they took the life Jack and Sarah were entitled to live. No one has a right to destroy the lives of two children who were in the house on the night their Dad was beaten to death. Jack was ten years old and Sarah was eight. They were made to lie about their father, and then those lies were then used to free their father’s killers. Their grief is compounded by guilt even though they are the entirely innocent victims here. Your honour, I want you to understand the lasting impact that this crime has had on their lives. These are not just words falling from my pen on to paper. I am trying to save the lives of two children whom I love with all my heart.

I have been a mother to four children since the day I was awarded custody of Jack and Sarah. But here’s the thing, the power is yours, the decision is yours, the administration of justice is yours. Please don’t let these innocent children down. They should not have to endure such pain and loss. Let them finally have the time to heal, to grow and find love and peace in their world. I am asking for positive change – Jason would want positive change from his killing. Jason was my brother, my memories are filled with nothing but his kindness, loud laugh, bear hugs, late night chats, and holidays. He was absolutely the best brother I could ask for – a man who respected, loved and cared for me. He was the only person outside my husband that I could depend on – absolutely and unconditionally. We never had disagreements, great debates but never a bad word against one another. Your honour, I have struggled and strived for eight years to get justice for Jack and Sarah because I loved J deeply and knew what a wonderful man he was. So many lives were changed irrevocably on August 2 2015 – Jason lost his; Jack and Sarah lost the future they would have had. His parents, siblings, friends, work colleagues and relations have all suffered.

Dave and I created a new blended family where Jack and Sarah now call us mom and Dad, and they are brother and sister to our two other sons, Dean and Adam. I think often of Isobel and how her life changed that day too, how the love we could have afforded this vulnerable child was lost on that night too. Please, I pray you will make the right and just decision and impose a sentence that fits the crime, and values the life that Jason lived, and the loss his death has brought.

If upon my death I come face to face with something or someone who demands I give an account for how I spent my life here on earth, I will answer with just two words: I Loved. Love is the fulcrum of the world and the reason I exist. Please teach our children to trust in justice, love, decency and fairness. It is not just, fair or humane, that the defendants can take a man’s life and walk free. To orphan two children without just consequences. Please give Jack and Sarah the gift of time to heal and time to learn to live away from this experience. They have lived under the weight of this for eight long and painful years, and will have to live with the loss of their father for the rest of their lives. Now, finally, they deserve the time to move on, to learn to love themselves, and trust again in love, and the goodness of the world.

Thank you for allowing me to share and for reading my letter today.

Tracey Corbett Lynch