herald

Wednesday 19 December 2018

'Anne's brother James got so depressed over the events he took his own life'

Anne’s daughter Emma
Anne’s daughter Emma

Anne Shortall's family said their lives have been changed forever by her brutal murder.

The mother-of-three's children, brothers and sisters told in victim impact statements how their world "fell apart" when they found out she had been beaten to death by Roy Webster.

The statements were read out to the Central Criminal Court at Webster's sentencing hearing, an hour after the jury returned its verdict convicting him of murder.

Prosecution barrister Paul Greene told Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy two members of Ms Shortall's family wished to speak.

First, Henry Leonard, her brother-in-law, read out a joint statement on behalf of her brothers and sisters, Anthony, Percy, Gary, Seppie, Josie, Liz and Eileen.

"Little did we know what we were about to go through. Finding out Anne was brutally murdered is something that will ring through our heads forever," the statement read.

Depressed

"Our family has never been the same. Seven weeks later, James, Anne's brother, got so depressed over the events he took his own life.

"There are no words to describe how these events have affected us. We are a strong family that have relied on each other through this time. Our family will never be the same again."

Mr Leonard went on to thank the gardai, victim support and the "justice system, for which we are very grateful".

Anne's youngest daughter, Alanna, read out statements by her, her sister Emma and brother David.

"On 3 April 2015, my whole world fell apart, the person I relied on, counted on was taken away from me so suddenly and violently," Alanna said in her own statement.

"My mother was not meant to die, her life was taken from her. She will never get to see her grandchildren grow up, or her children."

David's statement said: "The effects of this has had a huge impact on the last two years of my life, such as losing a good long-term job and a long-term relationship with my then-girlfriend, who was with me through it due to stress and anxiety.

Disastrous

"This led to me being prescribed anti-depressants and turning me into a totally different person than I was before this disastrous event that tore our family apart.

"On Wednesday, I should have been embracing my mother with open arms and saying 'happy birthday', instead I put flowers on her grave," he added.

Emma said: "On April 3, 2015, I lost my Mam, my best friend, my confidant. My life changed forever for the worst.

"I will never have my mother for when my first child is born, or she won't be here for my wedding day.

"There is a void in my life that can never be filled."

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