Monday 23 October 2017

Graham Dwyer Trial: Childhood friend saw 'nothing unusual' on night out with accused, court told

Trial also heard from woman who hired accused for architectural work

Sarah Stack and Andrew Phelan

One of Graham Dwyer’s childhood friends has told the Central Criminal Court how the murder accused organised a get-together with pals.

Colm Costello agreed with Sean Guerin SC, prosecuting, that he was originally from Bandon, Co Cork, and had known Mr Dwyer since childhood.

Graham Dwyer
Graham Dwyer
Graham Dwyer

“I believe we went to nursery together, I’ve known him a long time,” he said.

The court heard the pair went in different directions after school.

“Graham went to Dublin to study in Bolton Street and I went to UCC,” Mr Costello said.

Read more here: Graham Dwyer Trial: Gardai probing Elaine's death requested details from 450 phone cells 

“I moved to Dublin 1995 four years after him, and we’ve been in touch regularly since then.”

He agreed that emails showed a get-together was organised at Mr Dwyer’s family home in Foxrock on July 2, 2011.

About six of them went to the house, before going to the local pub and back to the house, the court heard.

Under cross-examination, Mr Costello was asked by Remy Farrell SC, defending, if anything unusual happened.

Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara

“No nothing unusual at all,” he replied.

“I hadn’t seen some of the people for a long time. We were planning a 20th anniversary.”

Mr Costello was giving evidence at day 27 at the trial of Graham Dwyer, who he greeted as he left the stand.

Mr Dwyer denies murdering Elaine O’Hara on August 22, 2012, in the Dublin Mountains on the day she disappeared.

Read more here: Dwyer's DNA on Elaine's bloody mattress 

His friend was among several witnesses who gave evidence about where Mr Dwyer or his vehicles were on various dates in 2011 and 2012.

Sinead Norman told the court that she advertised on “handymatters.ie” or “handyman.ie”, for the services of an architect to do “work for cheap or free”.

Ms Norman, from Corrandulla in Galway, said Mr Dwyer replied and they met four times to discuss a planning application for a build on 10 acres of land she owned in Indreabhan, 15 miles west of Galway city.

She agreed with Anne Marie Lawlor, prosecuting, that she contacted Mr Dwyer through his 087 mobile number and on email.

Read more here: Graham Dwyer trial: Garda team 'sought records for over 450 mobile phone cells' 

“The planning application was made in due course and refused, but you were satisfied with the work and recommended him to a friend, Claire Fox,” said Ms Lawlor.

Ms Norman agreed and was shown a series of photographs with the note “Fox house” dated 04/07/2012.

“This is a section of my land at Indreabhan, Co Galway,” she said.

“I wasn’t aware that they were taken.”

She agreed Mr Dwyer also made contact with her by mobile on July 4, 2012.

Read more here: Graham Dwyer Trial: Paint spots found on spade near Elaine O'Hara's body no match for paint samples taken from home of accused 

Under cross examination she said her friend was building a house on another area.

Separately, defence barrister Kate McCormack said the accused was accepting he had been the registered owner of a number of vehicles.

These were: 99G 11850 between May 25 2012 and August 1, 2013; 06KK 3630 between November 6, 2010 and November 1, 2011, 00MH 11127 between October 29 2011 and June 12, 2012, 00D 52914 between December 22, 2011 and November 2, 2012 and 02D 51268 from August 2, 2012 to present.

Superintendent JJ Keane then told Sinead McGrath BL, prosecuting, that he sought road toll records for July 4, 2012 between 12.30pm and 2.15pm.

The records sought were for cars travelling the route between Galway City and Dublin City. On September 25, 2013 he spoke to Garda Richard Daly at Harcourt Square seeking data through Auto Number Plate Recognition (ANPR).

The two toll booths he was interested in were the ones on the M6 outside Galway and the M4 in Dublin. He was interested in information relating to cars travelling from Galway to Dublin.

Read more here: Graham Dwyer Trial: Elaine O'Hara's blood, and semen matching the accused, found on mattress in her apartment 

“You were attempting to identify a car using the two toll booths between the times stated,” Ms McGrath said.

Supt Keane agreed. The jury heard Garda Daly made the application for the information which was forwarded through Inspector Brian Woods to analyst Sarah Skedd.

An application was made to Enda Tyrell at Eurolink M4 on September 25, 2013. Supt Keane made another application to Easytrip for a travel tag on October 3, 2013 for an E-trip and E-Flow tag for Graham Dwyer, with a car registration 99G 11850.

He requested any data registered to Mr Dwyer throughout Ireland between 01/11/11 and 01/09/12. On October 11, 2013 he received the information in a series of emails from Garda Gillian Tucker, of the Operational Support Office at Dublin Castle.

Tracy Burke of Easytrip, the toll tag providers, gave evidence that there was one account for Mr Dwyer at his home address. There were three tags associated with his account.

Read more here: Spade found near Elaine's body was ours - Graham Dwyer's wife tells court  

She gave gardai account invoices and statements.

One, dated July 1, 2012 to July 31, 2012 had charges of €42. Charges were recorded for locations including the M4 West, Kinnegad, M4 East Kinnegad, the M50 South, M3 Ballinasloe.

A tag was registered at the M4-East, Kinnegad on July 4, 2012 at 6.04am, travelling from Dublin to Galway. At 7am on the same day, the tag was registered on the M6 Ballinasloe. The tag registered at 12.45pm again at the M6 Ballinsloe, and an hour later at the M4 West, Kinnegad at 1.47pm.

Another journey showed a Land Rover Freelander – registration 00MH 11127 – travel through tolls on the M7/M8 Portlaoise and the M8 mainline on the morning of 03/04/2012, before returning through the same tools that afternoon.

Enda Tyrrell, operations manager at toll booth between junction 8 and 9 on the M4, said he gave gardai a disc of photographs of cars passing through the booth.

You probably have hundreds of photographs of me in your database,” said Judge Tony Hunt.

Evidence was given by Oliver Doherty, information technology manager for Easytrip services, who reported how toll plazas report data back to IBM in Blanchardstown.

The court also heard from hotelier Mary Dorrian, who owns Dorrians Imperial Hotel in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, with her husband.

Graham Dwyer checked in to their hotel for one night on July 5, 2012, and paid cash, according to documents shown to the jury.

A copy of the receipt, which Mr Dwyer had signed, included his address and 99 G registration.

A second exhibit, an email, showed the booking was made on July 3.

George Ryan, club secretary of Carronn Model Flying Club near Limerick junction, confirmed Mr Dwyer attended a fun fly day at the club on August 4, 2012.

Shown a picture of the event, he told Ms Lawlor he could recognise his own one model aeroplane and Mr Dwyer’s “blue, black and white one” battery operated plane in the foreground.

“We mightn’t focus on your one for the moment,” said Ms Lawlor, before Judge Hunt asked the witness which one was his.

“I’m the guy in the red shirt bend down over the pane,” replied Mr Ryan, the jury seeing his back to the camera.

“And a fine plane it is,” replied Ms Lawlor, to laughter in the court room.

The trial continues next week.

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