Saturday 10 December 2016

'Jenny's First Rape': Gardai make contact with English woman who could easily have been another Graham Dwyer victim

Graham Dwyer thought he could get away with murder - as his appeal date nears, the sadistic killer still believes he'll walk free

Paul Williams

Published 26/03/2016 | 02:30

Graham Dwyer Photo: Collins Courts
Graham Dwyer Photo: Collins Courts
Elaine O'Hara

She was the woman who could easily have become another victim to depraved killer Graham Dwyer.

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The investigation team that successfully unmasked the architect as the depraved sexual deviant responsible for the death of Elaine O'Hara had been trying to find the English woman for over a year.

And detectives also believed that the woman was the subject of a shocking fantasy story written by Dwyer entitled 'Jenny's First Rape'. In the story he described meeting a woman in Newcastle who he then ties up, tortures and rapes before producing a hunting knife.

Investigators had been unsuccessful in their attempts to trace the English woman before Dwyer's trial which ended with his conviction for murder a year ago this weekend.

Gardaí were seriously concerned for her safety - and asked their UK colleagues to check all unsolved murders of females over a five year period, as well as their list of missing women. But the woman concerned made contact with the gardaí and admitted she had been involved in a voluntary S&M-type relationship for a number of years.

She was just one of the women who featured in a number of horrific sex movies recorded by Dwyer - some of which were crucial in last year's trial.

But while gardaí were tying together strands of a case that was so nearly the perfect murder, Graham Dwyer has not been idle in his new life behind bars.

Despite being jailed for murder one year ago, sources say that Dwyer is "supremely confident" that he will win an appeal against his conviction.

Over the past year he has been in contact with a number of female admirers - including a Russian woman who claimed that she had fallen in love with him.

A series of letters to an Anglo-Spanish student au pair who started writing to him in prison saw him boasting that he is 'Fifty Shades of Graham'.

He has also grown his hair long and often wears it in a ponytail - prompting the nicknames 'Steven Seagal' and 'Jonathan Ross', according to Dwyer.

In his looming appeal, it is understood that Dwyer will be challenging the conviction on several legal issues - including the admissibility of thousands of text messages between him and his victim.

His case will focus on the EU's Data Retention Directive. In Ireland, the directive was implemented through the Communications (Data Retention) Act 2011, which obliges all service providers to store logs of customers' phone records for two years, and internet records for one year. Trial Judge Tony Hunt ruled that the 2011 law was properly invoked and enforced, despite the EU directive having been struck down.

Another strand of the appeal will be that the State offered no medical evidence of how Elaine died.

Towards the close of his trial, Dwyer's lawyers sought to have the court direct a not guilty verdict on the basis that one of the constituent elements of murder - causation - had not been met.

The architect will also claim that the jury should have been discharged on the allegation that Judge Hunt glared at Dwyer during a difficult piece of evidence. Sources say that Dwyer is "supremely confident" that he will win his appeal.

And were it not for a sequence of extraordinary coincidences and a conspiracy of nature, Dwyer could have got away with one of the most gruesome and shocking murders in Irish criminal history.

At 11am on August 22, 2012, Elaine O'Hara was discharged from the private mental health hospital where she had been for the previous five-and-a-half weeks.

The care worker (36), who had suffered from chronic depression and anxiety since childhood, was to vanish without trace six hours later.

She had a long history of psychiatric issues, but her family were confused by the disappearance. She had been in good spirits of late.

On September 10, 2013, angler William Fegan and friends were standing on Sally's Bridge at Vartry Reservoir near the village of Roundwood. That summer was the hottest since 1995 and water levels plummeted.

William Fegan spotted something in the water and fished out cuffs.

Troubled, he later brought them to Roundwood and handed them to Garda James O'Donoghue, who resolved to investigate further. The garda later turned up keys in the reservoir with a Dunnes Stores loyalty card attached. They belonged to an Elaine O'Hara.

On September 13, a curious dog called Millie began retrieving bones from the undergrowth while out walking with its owner in a forest on Killakee Mountain.

When Millie's owner, Magali Vergnet, went into the bushes to get the dog she spotted bones, tracksuit bottoms and shoes.

And when gardaí searched the reservoir they found two mobile phones along with bondage equipment.

The phones were to prove crucial in the hunt for the one of the country's most depraved killers.

Data from the phones provided a chilling script to the last days of Elaine's life - including the instructions she had received as she went to meet Dwyer near Shanganagh Park on the day of her disappearance.

A reference in one of the texts which had been recovered referred to the author coming fifth in a flying competition, as well as a substantial pay cut at work.

Initially, the investigation team drew up a list of every registered pilot in the country - before shifting their focus to model airplanes. That led detectives to the Roundwood Model Aeronautical Club, where a competition took place on June 11, 2011.

The officers checked the club's website for the competition results for that day - and found Graham Dwyer had come fifth.

The detectives then began a background check of this man, who they quickly confirmed was married with two children, who was from Foxrock in Dublin, and who worked as an architect.

When they delved further they discovered that he had taken a substantial pay cut.

Suddenly, the text messages and downloaded data became the beacon that led to Dwyer.

Closer scrutiny of CCTV footage from inside Elaine O'Hara's apartment block also showed him entering and leaving several times.

Just 10 days after Elaine O'Hara's remains had been identified, on September 27, Graham Dwyer became the prime suspect for her murder.

Paul Williams is the author of 'Almost the Perfect Murder - The Killing of Elaine O'Hara, the Extraordinary Garda Investigation and the Trial That Stunned the Nation'

Irish Independent

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