Man takes stand at trial for murder of nanny in Laois

Aoife Phelan

A man has taken the stand at his trial for the murder of Laois nanny Aoife Phelan, whose body was found in a barrel on his property.

Robert Corbet (aged 25) of Sheffield Cross, Portlaoise admitted strangling Ms Phelan in a row in October or November 2012, but denies her murder.

In the witness box this morning Mr Corbet described meeting Ms Phelan (aged 30) in a Portlaoise nightclub in June 2012 in the wake of his break-up with his long-term girlfriend.

He told the jury they had sex one night back at his house but used a condom, and so he was surprised and frightened when some weeks later Aoife texted to say she was late in menstruating.

The accused said he offered to accompany the nanny on her doctor visits for support but each time she would dismiss him which led to heated conversations.

He admitted that he called her a "psycho" to his best friend because of all the baby talk.

The jury heard Ms Phelan was not pregnant at the time of her death.

Mr Corbet told gardaí he strangled her during a row, when she threatened to "make his life hell if he walked away from her" and their future child.

The trial continues.

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