Tuesday 20 February 2018

A family's agony: was Elaine left to die alone on mountain?

Dearbhail McDonald and Sarah Stack

The father of Elaine O'Hara told his daughter's murderer, Graham Dwyer, that they are serving a life sentence without any parole and have been left with questions they will never have answered.

Frank O'Hara, in a victim impact statement read out by prosecutor Sean Guerin SC, told the architect's sentence hearing that they will have to carry those unanswered questions with them for the rest of their lives.

"When did Elaine realise it was not a game any more?" he asked in the two-page statement.

"When did she realise that the intention was to kill her for real? Did she try to run away? Was she restrained? Did she suffer much? Could she and did she cry out?

"Was she left on the mountain to die alone?" he said.

Mr O'Hara continued: "This is our life sentence, for us there is no parole."

Elaine O’Hara’s family, including her father Frank O’Hara, leave court after the sentencing
Elaine O’Hara’s family, including her father Frank O’Hara, leave court after the sentencing
Elaine O’Hara’s sister Ann Charles and father Frank
Elaine O’Hara
Graham Dwyer
Graham Dwyer’s father Sean at court for his son’s sentencing
Members of the Graham Dwyer investigation team, from left, Detective Garda Bríd Wallace, Detective Garda James Mulligan, Det Sgt Peter Woods and Detective Inspector Brian Duffy at court for the sentencing

Dwyer (42), a married father of three, was yesterday granted legal aid in the event of an appeal, which must now be filed within 21 days.

He showed little emotion during the sentence hearing, bowing his head only once, when trial judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt referred to the "pitiful condition" in which he had left his wife, Gemma Dwyer, and their two children.

Eleven members of the 12- strong jury returned to court 13 at the Criminal Courts of Justice to witness Dwyer receive a mandatory life sentence.

Judge Hunt described the stabbing to death of Ms O'Hara by Dwyer as a chilling and premeditated murder - almost an execution - after a protracted campaign of the most vile manipulation of a woman too weak to resist his cruel deceptions and machinations.

Irish Independent

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