Thursday 23 January 2020

Cheating husband who bludgeoned mother-of-three to death, loses conviction appeal

Anne Shortall
Anne Shortall

Eoin Reynolds

A cheating husband who bludgeoned a mother-of-three to death with a hammer after she allegedly threatened to tell his wife about their one-night-stand has lost an appeal against his conviction.

Family and friends of the victim Anne Shortall (47) shouted “yes” as the judges at the Court of Appeal revealed their decision, one that will see Roy Webster continue to serve his life sentence for the 2015 murder.

During Webster’s trial in 2017 it emerged that he acted “completely normal” as he chatted to his wife and her friend, ate dinner, drank wine and fell asleep in front of TV while Ms Shortall’s body lay in the back of his van.

The 42-year-old, of Ashbree, Ashford, Co Wicklow, denied murdering Ms Shortall at The Murrough, near Wicklow Town on April 3, 2015, claiming he was provoked.

Roy Webster was sentenced to life in prison for murder.
Roy Webster was sentenced to life in prison for murder.

He was unanimously found guilty of murder by a jury at the Central Criminal Court and was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy

Webster moved to appeal his conviction claiming that the trial judge had not adequately explained to the jury the partial defence of provocation and the intention required to prove murder.

President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said the Court of Appeal was “not moved by the criticisms of the trial judge’s charge.” He added: “The charge was a particularly careful one, as might be expected, given that it was delivered by the judge who was then the senior presiding judge in the Central Criminal Court.”

He said Mr Justice McCarthy delivered a “careful and focused” charge. and dismissed the appeal against conviction.

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