Robert Corbet charged with murder of Aoife Phelan

A 24-year-old man has been charged with the murder of pregnant nanny Aoife Phelan, gardaí have said.

The suspect, who knew the dead woman, was arrested twice this week over the killing and is due before Portlaoise District Court at 10.30am this morning.

Ms Phelan’s badly beaten body was found hidden in a barrel buried in a pit at the back of a property on the outskirts of the Co Laois town on Wednesday.

She went missing just over a fortnight ago.

The man, a lorry driver, was first arrested on Monday as gardaí confirmed the missing persons inquiry had been classed a murder investigation.

He was released the following day amid plans for a file to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Gardaí rearrested the man on Wednesday as searches on the property uncovered the body.

Ms Phelan, 30, worked in the town as a live-in nanny.

She was one of 12 brothers and sisters born and raised in the townland of Cashel in the village of Ballyroan, less than five miles from where she was found dead.

Ms Phelan’s grief-stricken parents, Michael and Betty, and their other children, have been comforted over the past days by scores of relations and friends.

A memorial service was held last night at the local parish church, St Patrick’s Ballyroan, to mark two weeks since her disappearance. The funeral has been arranged for 2pm on Saturday in the church.

Ms Phelan was four months’ pregnant when she vanished on Thursday, October 25, after meeting a friend and leaving a house on Colliers View in Portlaoise.

The alarm was raised when she did not show up for work the following morning.

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Written by cusackd