herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Hundreds join vigil to 'guide home' gran found dead in shed

A 38-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Anne Shortall on Good Friday.

There were emotional scenes outside Bray District Court today as members of the public shouted abuse at Roy Webster as he was led into court.

Mr Webster, with an address at Ashbre, Killoughter, Co Wicklow, was remanded in custody until April 16 by Judge David Kennedy. He will appear again before Cloverhill District Court.

Detective Sergeant Fergus O'Brien gave evidence and said the accused made no reply after he was cautioned at Wicklow Town Garda Station at 10.15pm last night.

Mr Webster wore a Leinster rugby hoodie, tracksuit bottoms and beige leather shoes as he made his court appearance today. The 38-year-old is facing a single charge of murder and remained silent during the hearing which lasted just five minutes in courtroom two.

His solicitor, Dermot Hickey, requested that his client undergo a psychological evaluation, and this was granted by the judge. A statement of means was also submitted to the court.

Webster was initially arrested in connection with the mother-of-three's death on Tuesday and was questioned in Wicklow Garda Station.

The 47-year-old's body was discovered under tarpaulin in a shed beside a house just three days after she was first reported missing on Saturday.

REMAINS

The grim discovery of her remains was made just a few miles outside Killoughter, close to Ashford, Co Wicklow, on Tuesday afternoon.

She is believed to have died from blunt-force trauma to the head and a post-mortem was carried out. However, investigating gardai have withheld the results for operational reasons.

Two crimes scenes were sealed off during the investigation: the shed where Ms Shortall's remains were discovered, as well as an area in the Murrough area of Wicklow town. A van was also seized as part of the investigation.

Gardai took footage from 13 CCTV cameras in the area where Ms Shortall was last seen alive, close to Leitrim Place in Wicklow town on Good Friday, in a bid to piece together information about her final hours.

The grandmother lived in an apartment with her teenage daughter, Alanna, in Wicklow town. She had two other adult children - Emma and David.

Last night, hundreds of people gathered in Wicklow town to "guide Anne home".

The crowds held a candlelit vigil at the spot where the slain mother was last seen.

A Chinese lantern and five red balloons were released into the air and Fr Donal Roche, who led a memorial service, thanked the large crowds for "their support in the wake of the terrible tragedy".

hnews@herald.ie

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