Wicklow murder trial gets underway

The trail of Roy Webster who is accused of the murder of Anne Shortall in April 2015 has started today in the Central Criminal Court.

Webster (40), from Ashbree, Ashford, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Anne Shortall (47). His plea was not accepted by the State.

Opening the trial today, the court heard that the accused and Ms Shortall had a “sexual encounter” after meeting at a pub on December 20th, 2014.

Mr. Webster thought that was the end of it until he started to receive phone calls and messages though a mutual friend on Facbook.

When Ms Shortall did make contact with the accused she told him she was pregnant and wanted money for an abortion.

On Good Friday April the 3rd 2015 Roy Webster and Anne Shortall met in Wicklow town.

Senior Counsel Paul Greene said the jury would hear there was a dispute about whether he would give her money and she threatened to “reveal all” about their earlier encounter.

He hit her on the head with a hammer and drove her back to his work premises with her hands secured by duct tape. A pathologist’s report would show that she received nine blows to the head, he said.

Ms Shortall’s body remained at Mr Webster’s workshop until April 7th, 2015 when he told gardaí of her whereabouts.

He was interviewed by gardaí at Wicklow Garda station on April 6th but did not reveal his part in her death.

Ms Shortall’s body was discovered behind wood panels in his workshop.

Mr Webster’s barrister told the court that his client accepted that he met Ms Shortall by arrangement and that he assaulted her and is responsible for her death.

The trial continues.

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