Man, 38, charged with murder of Ann Shortall

There were emotional scenes at a Wicklow court yesterday as a man was charged with the murder of Anne Shortall.

Man, 38, charged with murder of Ann Shortall

Roy Webster, aged 38, from Killoughter, Ashford, Co Wicklow, was brought before a special sitting of Bray District Court.

The body of Ms Shortall, a mother of three, was found in a remote Co Wicklow shed on Tuesday. An autopsy led to a murder investigation.

Mr Webster kept his head bowed as he was ushered past waiting photographers and camera crews into the courthouse. Dressed in a Leinster rugby hoodie and navy tracksuit bottoms, he appeared before Judge David Kennedy.

Family and friends of Ms Shortall were in attendance but remained quiet during the brief court hearing.

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Det Sgt Fergus O’Brien gave evidence of arrest, charge, and caution. Mr Webster faced a single charge of murder.

Det Sgt O’Brien said he arrested the accused at 10.15pm on Wednesday and handed him a copy of the charge sheet. He said that the accused made no reply when the charge was put to him.

During a 10-minute sitting, defence solicitor Dermot Hickey gave Judge Kennedy a statement of his client’s means. He also asked that his client be given a psychological assessment. Judge Kennedy made such an order.

Mr Webster was remanded in custody to appear before Cloverhill District Court next Thursday.

Ms Shortall, a mother of three adult children and grandmother of two, was from Woodside, Rathnew. Her funeral will take place in the village today.

She had moved to Wicklow Town and lived in an apartment with her daughter Alanna. She had two other adult children, Emma and David, and 12 siblings.

The family of Ms Shortall, née Doyle, organised a search for her after she was last seen on Good Friday afternoon at Leitrim Place in Wicklow Town.

Searches, involving family, friends, neighbours, the Civil Defence, and gardaí, were conducted on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before news came through of the discovery of her body.

Brother-in-law Jon McCabe, speaking for the Doyle family, issued a statement on Wednesday thanking all those who had helped in the searches.

The family organised a candlelit vigil at Parnell Bridge, near Leitrim Place, at 9pm on Wednesday to “light Anne’s way home”.

The vigil was attended by hundreds of people, during which a Chinese lantern and five red balloons were released into the air.

Fr Donal Roche, who led a memorial service, thanked the large crowds for “their support in the wake of the terrible tragedy”.

Candles were placed all along the bridge as more and more gathered to pay their respects.

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