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Cuts discovered in blood-stained mattress at dead woman's home

PUNCTURE cuts were discovered in a blood stained mattress found on a bed in Elaine O'Hara's apartment, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Detective Garda Brian Barry, of the ballistics section of the Garda Technical Bureau, said he went to Ms O'Hara's apartment at Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside, on September 19, 2013 - six days after her partial, skeletal remains were recovered on lands owned by farmer Frank Doyle at Kilakee in the Dublin Mountains.

The top-floor apartment had been preserved at that particular point and appeared to be "not lived in", said Garda Barry. It was cleaned and items such as cutlery in the drawers were not present. In the bedroom, there was no carpet on the floor but a rug was placed under the double bed.

Garda Barry removed the bedsheet and observed bloodstains and a number of puncture cuts on the mattress.

Det Garda Barry was giving evidence on the fifth day of the trial of architect Graham Dwyer, who denies murdering Ms O'Hara (36) at Kilakee, Rathfarnham on August 22, 2012.

Sgt Brian O'Keeffe and Garda Sean Balfe told the court they also carried out a supervised search of Ms O'Hara's apartment in Stepaside with colleagues on September 20, 2013.

Items seized included a Dunnes Stores loyalty card.

Sgt O'Keeffe said six days later he was also given a set of keys with nine separate keys on it by Det Sgt Thomas Forsyth, the majority of which were traced back to Ms O'Hara. He said he later found three of the keys worked at her apartment at Belarmaine Plaza - one opened Ms O'Hara's own apartment, another the main door and the third a post box - and two were for the home of her father Frank O'Hara.

Another key worked in the door of a classroom in at St John's School where Ms O'Hara worked and a seventh was a car key.

Sgt O'Keeffe said he and a colleague met the new owner of Ms O'Hara's Fiat Punto and that key opened the door of the car, the court heard.

There were also loyalty cards for three stores on the keyring for Dunnes Stores, Superquinn and AppleGreen.

The court previously heard that the O'Hara family had removed several personal items belonging to Ms O'Hara from the flat before a management property company was due to lease it out.

Paula Duffy, senior manager for legal recoveries at AIB bank, yesterday told the jury she was contacted by gardai seeking to enter the apartment at Belarmine on September 19, 2013 and granted permission to do so.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of seven men and five women who have heard evidence from 43 witnesses.

Irish Independent