Monday 21 January 2019

Accused told his wife 'I hit Anne with a hammer', court told

Roy Webster
Roy Webster
Anne Shortall. Photo: Michael Kelly

Murder accused Roy Webster broke down in tears in front of gardai and his wife and confessed to killing Anne Shortall, saying: "I hit her with a hammer."

Mr Webster (39) was sitting around a table in his home with gardai to discuss Ms Shortall's disappearance, when, a court heard, his wife Sinead asked him softly: "Have you anything to say that you are not saying. Did you hurt her?"

The Central Criminal Court was told Ms Shortall had been missing for four days and Mr Webster was helping gardai with their enquiries when he made the admission. His wife dropped to her knees and gasped, her six-week old baby in her arms, when Mr Webster then revealed that the body was in his workshop at the back of their home.

Mr Webster, of Ashbree, Ashford, Co Wicklow, denies murdering Ms Shortall (47) on April 3, 2015, at The Murrough, also in Wicklow. He has admitted manslaughter.

Detective Sergeant Fergus O'Brien said he called at Mr Webster's home on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. "[Ms Webster] spoke softly to him. She said 'Did you hurt her?'. He hesitated, his head was down, he started to cry," Det Sgt O'Brien said.

"He said he did hurt her."

Det Sgt O'Brien said he then cautioned the accused.

"Sinead said to him, much more directly and forcefully, 'Did you hit her, Roy?'," Det Sgt O'Brien added.

"His head was down and he started to cry and he said 'I did'. I asked him the question 'Where is she, Roy?'. And then Sinead said, 'With what?'. And he said 'I hit her with a hammer'. I said 'Where is she, Roy?'. And he said, 'She is in the workshop'. At that stage, Sinead Webster said, 'In our workshop?'. And he said, 'Yes'."


Det Sgt O'Brien said the accused's subsequent interview was written down.

"She put me under so much pressure. I hit her a couple of blows, a mistake that is after ruining so many lives," he said.

"I was trying to keep it together for everyone but she had me against the wall. Everything I had worked so hard for. She was just threatening and threatening. I got her out and opened the side of the side door. I grabbed the first thing I could and I hit her and pushed her into the van. I am genuinely sorry for putting everybody through that."

The accused took the gardai to his workshop.

"I saw a pair of hands and the hands were at the front of a body and they were taped up with silver duct tape," Det Sgt O'Brien said.

"I called out to Roy, 'Did you tape up her hands', and he said 'Yes I did'."

The trial continues.

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