Child snatcher

How far would a father go to pro­tect his daugh­ter? Way too far, one vi­o­lent night...

Real People - - NEWS - By Miyo Padi (sto­ries@re­alpeo­

Nanny’s blood­bath to get the kids!

The search for a Mary Pop­pins be­gan...

Ja­son Cor­bett set about it with a heavy heart.

He was only 30, so young to be a widower and, with a high-pow­ered job in pack­ing and no wife to take care of his son and daugh­ter, the sit­u­a­tion was des­per­ate.

Mar­garet Fitz­patrick Cor­bett, Ja­son’s wife and love of his life since they’d met at a Limerick night­club, had run her own crèche. She’d loved kids and been the per­fect mum.

But, in Novem­ber 2006, she’d died from an asthma at­tack in the mid­dle of the night.

Their son was just two, their daugh­ter only 12 weeks old.

Now, rais­ing them was up to Ja­son, de­spite his bro­ken heart.

Each and ev­ery day, he’d visit his late wife’s grave, sit­ting there for hours read­ing her the pa­pers.

At first, he’d turned to his sis­ter, Tracey, for help watch­ing the kids while he worked.

But, in an at­tempt to jug­gle the de­mands of par­ent­ing and work, he was now look­ing for more per­ma­nent help.

So, in Fe­bru­ary 2008,

15 months after Mags’ death, Ja­son posted an on­line ad for an au pair.

And help came from the most un­likely place.

Ja­son’s ad was an­swered by Molly Martens, a for­mer model from Knoxville, Ten­nessee, in the US.

With her slen­der fig­ure, blonde hair and Amer­i­can chip­per, Molly was an in­stant hit with the chil­dren – and Ja­son.

Quite why Molly wanted to travel 4,000 miles to work in Ire­land isn’t clear.

Per­haps she wanted an ex­cuse to start afresh?

What­ever it was, Molly must have seemed heaven-sent.

The chil­dren adored their new nanny, and she them.

Molly was a woman with a lot going for her, that was un­de­ni­able.

But, to Ja­son’s fam­ily, it seemed some of her sto­ries were a tad far-fetched.

She claimed to be a for­mer Olympic swim­mer, teacher, an editor and a foster par­ent to a six-year-old boy.

A bit much at just 24... But Ja­son was de­lighted. And soon, he was smit­ten.

Within eight months, Ja­son and Molly were a cou­ple.

By late 2010, they were en­gaged. He’d found more than a nanny, he’d found a mum for his chil­dren. And a wife.

But, just as Ja­son was close to his seven sib­lings in Ire­land, Molly grew home­sick for her fam­ily in the US.

She was close to her re­tired FBI agent father, Thomas, and her mother, Sharon.

And now that she thought of Ja­son’s chil­dren as her own – they called her ‘mom’ – she wanted them to grow up close to her wider fam­ily.

Ja­son agreed and, in May 2011, the fam­ily re­lo­cated to Pan­ther Creek, North Carolina.

Able to trans­fer his job, Ja­son bought their smart home next to an ex­clu­sive golf course for $390,000 (£295,000). Cash.

A month on, Molly and Ja­son mar­ried in a lav­ish cer­e­mony at Bleak House in Ten­nessee, not far from Molly’s par­ents in Knoxville.

Pic­tures from the day show Ja­son and Molly prac­ti­cally radiant. In match­ing mint and black, Ja­son and his son wore pink roses in their lapels.

Molly and Ja­son’s daugh­ter were clad in white.

But things didn’t stay pic­ture-per­fect. Within a few years, the cracks be­gan to show in Ja­son’s sec­ond-chance, sec­ond-at­tempt mar­riage.

Molly des­per­ately wanted to make the fam­ily of­fi­cial by adopt­ing the chil­dren, giv­ing her equal rights in the eyes of the law. But Ja­son wasn’t hav­ing it. They might call Molly ‘mom’ but they had a mother, ly­ing in her grave back in Ire­land.

By sum­mer 2015, things in Molly and Ja­son’s re­la­tion­ship had reached an all-time low.

Ja­son’s father’s 80th birth­day party was com­ing up, so he’d booked tick­ets for him­self and his chil­dren to travel home. But not for Molly.

On Molly’s side, her father Tom was plead­ing with her to

con­sider a divorce. ‘ That son- in- law, I hate him,’ Tom lamented to a co- worker.

But the cou­ple limped on.

A month be­fore the break to Ire­land, on 1 Au­gust 2015, Ja­son spent the sunny Saturday af­ter­noon mow­ing his lawn.

His neigh­bour came over and the pair sat out, drink­ing while their kids played.

By the time Molly’s par­ents ar­rived at 8.30pm, Ja­son had drunk 10 or so beers.

But why not?

Tom and Sharon hadn’t been ex­pected, can­celling last-minute plans else­where to make the fourhour drive to see Molly in­stead. The neigh­bour watched as Ja­son cor­dially helped his in-laws with their lug­gage. In their bags was a 2ft metal base­ball bat, a gift for Ja­son’s son. The fam­ily ate pizza, Ja­son had a beer and a mo­jito, then re­tired for the night. Tom and Sharon took the guest room in the base­ment. But the house didn’t stay quiet for long...

At 3.04am, Tom phoned 911. ‘My daugh­ter’s hus­band, my son-in-law, got in a fight with my daugh­ter. I in­ter­vened and I think – he’s in bad shape. We need help.’ When asked for clar­i­fi­ca­tion, Tom re­mained calm and mea­sured.

‘He’s bleed­ing all over and I may have killed him,’ he said. When paramedics ar­rived min­utes later, they found Ja­son naked on the floor of his bed­room with his head caved in. Blood smeared the walls of the bed­room and the en suite. Ja­son was cold, clearly dead. Over him, a dis­traught Molly stood in tears.

But what had hap­pened? Both Molly and her dad gave de­tailed state­ments to the po­lice. It was a story of unimag­in­able hor­ror.

Molly ex­plained that she got up in the early hours to take one of the chil­dren back to bed after a night­mare. Re­turn­ing to bed, she’d wo­ken Ja­son, who’d flown into a rage about her mol­ly­cod­dling the kids.

He’d at­tacked her, in­ad­ver­tently bang­ing on the floor and wak­ing her father who was asleep down­stairs. Tom had run up­stairs, grab­bing the base­ball bat. When he’d seen his daugh­ter be­ing at­tacked, he’d hit Ja­son with the base­ball bat...

‘I’m going to do ev­ery­thing that I have to do to save her life. And if I die try­ing, well… she’s my daugh­ter. I’m not going to live with not try­ing,’ Tom said.

The father and daugh­ter claimed they’d some­how over­pow­ered 6ft, 20st Ja­son.

She’d hit him with an or­na­men­tal stone, while her father hit Ja­son with the bat. In the strug­gle, he’d died. It was sim­ple self-de­fence. But while the pe­tite blonde and the OAP were un­harmed, Ja­son’s wounds were hor­rific.

He’d been beaten so sav­agely that it was im­pos­si­ble to guess at the num­ber of blows. All they could say was a min­i­mum of 12. At least one was after his death.

Tests also showed that Ja­son’s body con­tained traces of a pain med­i­ca­tion pre­scribed to Molly just days be­fore. It was known to cause drowsi­ness.

Ques­tions re­mained when, just days after Ja­son’s death, Molly be­gan le­gal pro­ceed­ings to gain cus­tody of Ja­son’s chil­dren.

Ja­son’s sis­ter Tracey flew from Ire­land to the US to at­test that the chil­dren re­turn home with her, in line with her brother’s will.

The judge agreed.

It was only when the chil­dren fi­nally made it to Ire­land that Ja­son’s fam­ily laid him to rest.

On 26 Au­gust 2015, Ja­son’s funeral was held at Our Lady Queen Of Peace Church in Janes­boro, Limerick.

It was the day Ja­son had planned to visit his fam­ily.

Now he’d never leave.

Molly, though, wasn’t done.

She took to so­cial me­dia, post­ing, ‘On my mind and in my heart with ev­ery beat and ev­ery breath, al­ways,’ along­side im­ages of Ja­son’s chil­dren.

In ev­ery post, she re­ferred to her­self as their ‘mom’, but there was no men­tion of Ja­son.

Had he been such a brute that she couldn’t bear to think of him, even in death?

Or was Ja­son a means to an end and the chil­dren were all she’d ever wanted?

In Jan­uary 2016, Molly Cor­bett and her father, Thomas Martens, were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of mur­der.

When the trial even­tu­ally reached court, this July, there were sup­port­ers on both sides.

Nei­ther Thomas nor Molly de­nied at­tack­ing Ja­son.

But was it mur­der or was it self-de­fence?

A blood spat­ter ex­pert tes­ti­fied that blood soaked into the mat­tress and on the inside of Ja­son’s quilt in­di­cated he’d been hit first while he slept.

Tom’s friends took to the stand to con­firm that he’d never liked Ja­son.

But had this pretty nanny re­ally roped her father in to kill her hus­band? The pros­e­cu­tion at­tested so, claim­ing Molly knew Ja­son was about to leave her.

After a three-week trial, it took the jury at David­son Coun­try Court just three hours to reach a ver­dict.

Both Molly Martens Cor­bett, 31, and Thomas Michael Martens, 65, were found guilty of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der.

Molly wept as the ver­dict was read out.

‘I’m sorry, Mum,’ she sobbed. ‘I wish he would have killed me.’

Molly and her father were sen­tenced to a min­i­mum of 20 years in prison each.

But why had they done it? Molly’s fam­ily be­lieved she was an evil step­mother, so in­tent on play­ing mum that she’d stop any­thing tak­ing the kids away.

She’d killed him, they said, for his $600,000 (£450,000) life in­sur­ance, and – cru­cially – his chil­dren.

Ja­son had wanted some­one to take care of his kids, but he never could’ve guessed how far his new nanny would go...

Thomas bought a base­ball bat for his grand­son... then used it to kill his son-in-law

Ja­son was smit­ten with pretty Molly

Blood was found smeared on the walls Molly and her father Thomas were ar­rested...

... and found guilty of mur­der

Tom Martens with wife Sharon out­side the court

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