Friday 20 October 2017

Graham Dwyer Trial: Architect was working in office on day Elaine disappeared

Architect was particularly skilled in 3d visualisation and artist's impressions, court hears

Andrew Phelan and Sarah Stack

ATTENDANCE records at Graham Dwyer’s workplace showed he was working in the office on the day Elaine O’Hara disappeared, the Central Criminal Court heard,.

The jury was also told there was no evidence he had left work early that day - August 22, 2012.

Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara

However, the court heard there were some inconsistencies in the records covering other dates that Mr Dwyer had been working in 2011 and 2012.

Siobhan McEvitt, office manager at A&D Wejchert, Baggott Street Lower was being cross-examined by a barrister for the defence today.

Mr Dwyer (42), an architect of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, is pleading not guilty to the murder of Ms O’Hara (36) at Killakee, Rathfarnham on August 22, 2012.

Ms O’Hara, a childcare assistant from Killiney, was last seen alive near Shanganagh Cemetery in Shankill that day.

Graham Dwyer
Graham Dwyer

Her remains were found by a dog walker in undergrowth in the Dublin mountains on September 13, 2013.

The prosecution maintains Mr Dwyer killed her for his own sexual gratification.

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Ms McEvitt was led through her evidence by Sinead McGrath BL, for the prosecution.

She told the jury that on a number of dates, it was marked in attendance records that Mr Dwyer was at work but she could not verify that he was in the building on the days. On some dates, she told the court there was nothing in the records to say he was out of the office.

At one point there was an error in the records, when he was marked as being at a meeting in Poland on December 1 and 2, 2011. This was entered in error and he actually went on the trip the following week - December 8 and 9, 2011.

Holiday entries included a three-week holiday that he returned from on April 10, 2012. On June 22, records and an email showed he was at a conference on June 22, 2011.

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Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara

In cross-examination, Ronan Kennedy BL, defending put it to Ms McEvitt that she could not vouch personally for anyone being on or out of the office on a particular day.

“You are relying on the accuracy of the records and sometimes there is a conflict in the records,” he said.

“Unless I spoke to them personally,” Ms McEvitt replied.

She told Mr Kennedy that records show Mr Dwyer was working in the office the day Ms O’Hara disappeared.

Mr Kennedy queried attendance records and monthly time sheets for the weeks ending August 19 2012 and August 26 2012.

“Yes he appears to have worked a normal week according to these records,” Ms McEvitt said.

Mr Kennedy asked specifically about August 22, 2012, the day the prosecution claims he murdered Ms O’Hara.

“According to records he started work at 8.30am and worked a normal eight hour day,” she said.

“It looks like he worked a normal day both those weeks.”

She agreed there was no record of him leaving the office early either on August 22 or 23 2012.

Ms McEvitt also told Mr Justice Tony Hunt that each employee was emailed blank timesheets and each had a role in filling them in and returning them to her.

Read more: Dwyer led gardai to hunting knife in basement

A director of A&D Wejchert, David Lanigan, later told the court that Mr Dwyer had been involved in a range of projects and areas within the practice but was particularly skilled in 3d visualisation and artist's impressions of projects and presentations.

Mr Lanigan also agreed with Sean Guerin, prosecution counsel, that he also knew Mr Dwyer was married with two children, lived in Foxrock and had an interest in cars.

“Mr Dwyer had a number of different cars over the years and they were changed over the years,” he said, recalled that he once owned a Porsche and four wheel drive.

“He also had an interest in flying model aeroplanes.

“From what he told me he was involved in competitions for a club.”

Mr Lanigan told the court Mr Dwyer was very skilled with computers and had an office desktop, smart phone, laptop and a notebook and stored information on USB keys.

While he was based in the office on Lower Baggot Street, he also worked on projects around Ireland and in Poland, where the founding partners were from.

Mr Lanigan said Mr Dwyer would “typically” leave the office at around 4.45pm each evening to let the child minder go, adding that partners would usually tell reception if they were going out.

However, there were times during the day you could go out at short notice so occasionally reception was not always told when you go on a site meeting, he said.

Mr Guerin tool Mr Lanigan through a series of dates, to confirm if Mr Dwyer attended board meetings in the office, site meetings outside the office and evening events, including events held by the Irish Poland Business Association in the Polish Embassy and seminars organised by Enterprise Ireland.

He agreed there was an error in the office records on December 2, 2011, which recorded Mr Dwyer being in Poland.

“We had a board meeting of directors held in office,” he said remembered both of them had attended.

“He was in office. I travelled the following Thursday and Friday. I travelled with Mr Dwyer and another colleague.”

Mr Lanigan agreed Mr Dwyer had been working on a project at Leopardstown Racecourse in August 2012.

Several photographs were taken of the project, and the dates and times would have transferred automatically to the computer system in the office when downloaded, Mr Lanigan added.Office administrator Marian Kraus also told the court she made the error when she marked Mr Dwyer as being in Poland during the week ending December 4, 2011.

She told the court the entry for Poland “should have been entered the week ending the 11th” and agreed it had been an innocent mistake.

Elsewhere John Sheehan, town planner for Tom Phillips + Associates, told the court Mr Dwyer had attended An Bord Pleanala meetings with him in early July in Dublin city centre, while

Ciaran Conroy, commercial manager at Leopardstown Racecourse confirmed Mr Dwyer attended meetings there in August 2012.

Earlier, Det Gda Raymond Regan confirmed he had collected all the relevant office documents concerning Mr Dwyer’s attendance, time sheets, holidays, mileage and a breakdown of company credit cards from Ms McEvitt and handed them in to investigators at Blackrock Garda Station.

The court later heard that Mr Dwyer brought his wife and children to a “Family Day” event at his model aeroplane flying club three days before Elaine O’Hara went missing, the Central Criminal Court heard.

Mr Dwyer was seen with his family on a DVD made of the event in Roundwood on August 19, 2012.

The brief video clip was played to the jury this afternoon.

John Flynn told Sean Guerin SC, prosecuting, that he was secretary at Roundwood Model Aernoautical Club in 2012. He was also an owner and managed the website.The accused was a member.

Mr Guerin asked him to refer to a map taking in Dublin city, the Wicklow Mountains, Roundwood and Vartry reservoir. He pointed out the location of the club’s site. He said there were 20 acres, eight of which was laid out in runways, with associated car parking.

There were around 35 people in the club and events were run in conjunction with the Model Aeronautics Council of Ireland (MACI).

Events included ones in which other clubs came along and took part, as well as family days which were run for their own members to come and take part.

A “scale” event took place on June 11, 2011, which involved scaled down versions of full-sized models. The planes were powered either by internal combustion or electric motors, and there were also gliders.

He said people would sign in at events and their names would go on a rota and while they should do this, it did not always happen.

Mr Flynn said he knew Mr Dwyer reasonably well as a member and would have seen him “maybe a dozen times” over the course of a year.

He said the accused took part in the June 11, 2011 competition. The results of competitions were compiled in a report for the MACI magazine, Flight Line. He confirmed that Mr Dwyer had come fifth in that competition in the scale category.

The court heard another club owner was responsible for making DVDs of events. DVDs were then played back to the jury, two of which were from the club’s family day on August 19, 2012.

The first showed Mr Dwyer flying a “Wot 4” multi-purpose model plane and the second showed the accused talking with a woman and two children.

“That was Mr Dwyer and I believe his family,” Mr Flynn said.

Further DVD footage was shown from June 24, 2012, when the accused was seen flying a blue, black and white “Extra 300” plane.

Club diaries were then presented in evidence. Mr Flynn said it was up to members to sign in in the diary. He confirmed to Mr Guerin that there were no events at the Roundwood site on August 22, 2012.

Patrick Kenny, the father of a member of another club, the Shankill Radio Flying Club also gave evidence.

He recalled an incident in which he was with his son at the club when a friend, Denis Brennan suffered an injury, cutting his finger on the propeller.

His son landed the plane and drove all three men to Loughlinstown hospital.

Mr Kenny said the defendant was also a member of the Shankill club.

Finbar Constant, of MACI, said there were around 35 to 40 recognised clubs in the country.

He was membership secretary in 2012 and said he never met or spoke to Mr Dwyer personally.

Mr Brennan, who was injured in the accident in July 2012, told the court Mr Dwyer drove several types of cars when he knew him including a Porsche, an Audi estate and Audi sports car and a jeep.

He said when first asked by gardai about a dead sheep in the area he did not recall it but he remembered when other members were talking about it.

 “I can’t remember when I saw it. It was so long ago. It was before the injury,” he said.

“I didn’t put much significance to it.”

Under cross examination, he told Mr Farrell that gardai had specifically asked about the dead sheep on the morning of Mr Dwyer’s arrest on October 17, 2013.

There were also emails sent out by the secretary of the club asking about the dead sheep, he said.

The court heard Mr Brennan gave a recent formal statement to gardai in his house on January  8th this year and by then he has remembered there had been a dead sheep.

Mr Farrell questioned why, out of hundreds of witnesses, gardai had called in on Mr Brennan and how his memory had “improved substantially”.

Mr Dwyer’s legal team accused Mr Brennan of initially saying the sheep could have been in the field as far back as 2011.

“I said it would have been before my accident,” he replied.

Chris Clarke, general secretary of the Model Aeronautics Council of Ireland, said Mr Dwyer had been a member since 2000 and his number was

IRL3543 and one of the email address on it was IRL3543@gmail.com.

His membership file showed Mr Dwyer had passed two exams, A was a certificate for first level of competency and B was a certificate which allows members to fly in competitions abroad, Mr Clarke added.

The jury was also shown photographs of Mr Dwyer and tables of competition results  in FlighLines, a magazine for model aviation enthusiasts which Mr Clarke edited.

The contest had been held in Roundwood on June 22, 2011, the court heard.

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