Sunday 23 July 2017

Murder accused 'showed self pity' over hammer killing

Accused Roy Webster (40) Photo: Collins Courts
Accused Roy Webster (40) Photo: Collins Courts

Eoin Reynolds

Roy Webster's statements to gardaí after he confessed to beating Anne Shortall to death with a hammer had a degree of "self-pity", a prosecution barrister has told the jury at his murder trial.

Mr Webster (40), of Ashbree, Ashford, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Anne Shortall (47) on Good Friday April 3, 2015, at The Murrough, Co Wicklow. His plea was not accepted by the State and he is on trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Making his closing statement for the prosecution, Paul Greene SC told the jury that Mr Webster waited from April 3, when he admits to killing Ms Shortall, until April 7 when he revealed his part in her death.

Mr Greene said there is a "degree of self pity" when Mr Webster talked about all the things he had worked so hard for and told gardaí: "It is a mistake that is after ruining so many lives, but she had me up against a wall."

He pointed out that over the previous four days Mr Webster had lied to Ms Shortall's daughters when they asked him if he could help them find their mother.

He then lied to gardaí repeatedly over the weekend before he confessed on the Tuesday when his wife confronted him in front of gardaí.

Mr Greene said a lot had come out about the background of Ms Shortall and that, at times, it may have been hard to tell who was on trial.

He said she had not covered herself in glory, but that it was Mr Webster who was on trial.

It was already accepted that Mr Webster killed Anne Shortall and Mr Greene said all that the jury must decide is what was his intention. He added: "We say the evidence ought to satisfy you that he intended to kill or cause serious injury."

Counsel told the jury that an intention to kill can be formed "immediately" and that they should presume that Mr Webster intended the "natural and probable consequences" of his actions when he hit Ms Shortall on the head nine times with a hammer.

Defence council Brendan Grehan SC will make his closing statement today before Justice Patrick McCarthy begins his charge.

Irish Independent

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