Woman found dead beaten to death with a hammer, Gardaí believe

Tragic: Gardai believe Ms Shortall was beaten to death with a blunt instrument
Tragic: Gardai believe Ms Shortall was beaten to death with a blunt instrument

A woman found dead yesterday in County Wicklow is believed be have been beaten to death with a blunt instrument, possibly a hammer.

Anne Shortall's (47) remains were discovered under a tarpaulin in an outhouse at Killoughter, near Ashford, five days after being reported missing to Gardai. 

The mother-of-three was found shortly after 1pm yesterday afternoon by officers who were investigating her disappearance. 

Reports suggest the place where she was discovered was not the scene of the murder and that she had been moved there. Gardaí said they believe she was beaten to death with a hammer before her body was hidden by somebody. 

A 38-year-old man has been arrested by Gardaí and was last night being questioned at Wicklow garda station. Gardai said the two individuals are known to each other. 

They are investigating a theory the 47-year-old was killed in a dispute over money. The Independent reports Ms Shortall had been asking the married businessman for a substantial sum of money in the run-up to her disappearance.

Gardaí have begun examining CCTV footage in Wicklow town and mobile phone records in order to identify her last-known movements.

They sealed off a second scene last night as the body of Ms Shortall was removed for a post-mortem examination, expected to take place later today at St Columcilles Hospital in Loughlinstown. 

Gardai confirmed the 38-year-old suspect was still in custody last night being questioned in connection with the death.

Speaking yesterday, local councillor Pat Kavanagh said the horrific discovery was a "tragic event".

"It's a blessing for the family that they have some sort of closure. But it's a terrible, tragic event that you wouldn't wish on any family," she said.

"I was out this morning with a search party, and the gardaí were fantastic in their professionalism. They were so quick in their detection and recovery of the body."