Man on trial for 2012 murder of Aoife Phelan in Laois

Tuesday 13 May 2014 18.43
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Robert Corbet's manslaughter plea was not accepted by the prosecution (Pic: Laois Nationalist)
Robert Corbet's manslaughter plea was not accepted by the prosecution (Pic: Laois Nationalist)
Aoife Phelan's body was found on Mr Corbet's land in Co Laois (Pic: Laois Nationalist)
Aoife Phelan's body was found on Mr Corbet's land in Co Laois (Pic: Laois Nationalist)

A 25-year-old man has gone on trial charged with the murder of Aoife Phelan in Laois in 2012.

Robert Corbet of Sheffield Cross in Co Laois denies murder but admits the manslaughter of Ms Phelan between 25 October and 7 November 2012.

His plea of manslaughter was not accepted by the prosecution.

Prosecuting counsel Isobel Kennedy told the three women and nine men on the jury that the 30-year-old nanny was reported missing by her parents on 26 October.

She worked as a live-in nanny with a family, but had not turned up for work on that day.

She was last seen leaving a friend's house at around 8pm on 25 October.

The court heard Mr Corbet was arrested on 5 November after returning from a trip to the US and giving a witness statement.

Mr Corbet told gardaí he met Ms Phelan in a club in Portlaoise in June. He said they had begun texting and had some sexual contact.

He said she told him at a later stage that her period was late.

Mr Corbet said she had wanted a relationship with him but he had expressed reluctance.

He admitted that he had collected her from her friend's house on 25 October.

Mr Corbet said she had been "pushy" about the relationship. He said he snapped and repeatedly struck her, before dumping her body.

Ms Phelan's body was found on Mr Corbet's land at his home at Capoley in Co Laois and he was arrested again on 7 November.

He told gardaí he brought Ms Phelan to a garage at his home and they had been arguing about the relationship.

Mr Corbet said he had caught her around her neck with his forearm until she was motionless, then he put a black sack around her head, tied it with cables and disposed of her body.

The jury heard the cause of Ms Phelan's death was asphyxia with blunt force trauma to the head and chest.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.