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