Tuesday 20 February 2018

Murder trial jury considers verdict for third day

Roy Webster Photo: Collins Courts
Roy Webster Photo: Collins Courts

Andrew Phelan

The jury in the Roy Webster murder trial is due to resume deliberations for a third day today.

The four women and seven men were sent home last night after having spent just over three-and-a-half hours considering a verdict.

They had retired for a short time on Tuesday evening after Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy finished delivering his charge to the jury, with deliberations continuing yesterday.

Earlier, the jury asked to rehear the statement of a woman who met the accused shortly after he beat Anne Shortall to death with a hammer.

Mr Webster (40), a father-of-two from Ashbree, Ashford, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to the murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Ms Shortall (47) at The Murrough, in Wicklow town, on April 3, 2015.

That plea was not accepted by the prosecution.

Anne Shortall
Anne Shortall

It is the State's case that Mr Webster beat Ms Shortall to death after they had a one-night stand and she threatened to "reveal all" if he did not pay her to have an abortion, after she lied to him about being pregnant.

The defence has maintained the accused had no intention of killing or causing serious harm to Ms Shortall, a mother of three, but had "lost control" and reacted in fear and panic.

Before lunch yesterday, the foreman of the jury asked Judge McCarthy if they could rehear the statement of Carmel Phibbs, a friend of the accused's wife Sinéad.

Ms Phibbs, whose statement had been read to the court on day six of the trial, was at the Webster home on the afternoon that Ms Shortall was killed.

She told gardaí that when Mr Webster arrived home he was acting "completely normal".

The jury has also been given a number of exhibits, including the hammer that the prosecution alleges Mr Webster used to beat Ms Shortall to death.

Irish Independent

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