Elaine 'playing dangerous game' with architect, warned friend
ELAINE O'Hara was warned she was "playing a dangerous game" after she told a friend she was having a relationship with an architect who liked to cut her, the Central Criminal Court has heard.
Edna Lillis said the childcare assistant just wanted some attention and to be loved, but also enjoyed being physically hurt.
Ms Lillis said she met Ms O'Hara in 2007 when they were both in St Edmundsbury Hospital, a mental health facility in Lucan, Dublin. They remained in touch until late 2011 or early 2012, when she lost Ms O'Hara's number.
On their last meeting, Ms O'Hara showed Ms Lillis fresh cuts across her stomach, which she believed were three to four inches long.
"They wouldn't have been that deep. They were just very obvious," she said. "She explained to me how she got them before she showed them to me.
"She said she met someone on the internet and he liked to cut her and she was having some sort of relationship with him whereby he'd cut her.
"I told her she was playing a dangerous game and to pay attention. Elaine just wanted to be loved. She just wanted some attention," Ms Lillis continued, adding how she warned her friend to make notes of any meetings with the man - as well as his name and address - in case anything happened.
Ms Lillis was giving evidence on day 15 of the trial of Graham Dwyer, a 42-year-old architect who denies murdering Elaine O'Hara in the Dublin Mountains on August 22, 2012.
The prosecution maintains the accused killed Ms O'Hara for his own sexual gratification.
Ms Lillis gave a statement to gardai after Ms O'Hara's skeletal remains were found by a dog walker in September 2013.
At the time she told gardai the man involved with Ms O'Hara was an architect and possibly called Peter.
"I knew he was an architect. For some reason I had the name Peter in my head," she said, under cross-examination, to defence barrister Ronan Kennedy.
Ms O'Hara "enjoyed being hurt physically" and was not afraid of the man, but was wary of him as "she knew maybe there was repercussions", she added.
Ms Lillis knew Ms O'Hara had self-harmed and had suicidal tendencies, she said.
She told the court Ms O'Hara has also never got over the death of her mother, and resented how her father had moved on and was in a new relationship, despite liking his partner.
A former nurse also claimed the night before Ms O'Hara vanished she revealed she had met a man with children who had an interest in bondage and who "was constantly going to her apartment".
Rosetta Callan spoke to Ms O'Hara during her night shift at St Edmundsbury Hospital on August 21, 2012 - the evening before her discharge.
"She started telling me about this person she had met," she told prosecutor Sean Guerin SC.
Read more: Elaine O'Hara in her own words
Ms O'Hara didn't name him, but said they had a shared interest in bondage, she said.
The nurse, who has since retired after 44 years at the hospital, said Ms O'Hara told her she knew the man and that he lived nearby and she passed his house every day.
"She said he had a key to her apartment," said Ms Callan.
She also said Ms O'Hara would not go to the gardai if she was being harassed.
"She said she wouldn't go because he had young children," Ms Callan added.
"She said he had young kids and she loved kids so she wouldn't want to harm them by going to the guards."
Maria Hynes, who was also a patient in St Edmundsbury in August 2012, said she got to know Ms O'Hara over the two weeks they were inpatients at the same time. "Elaine was always very happy, she was always very, very chatty and always seemed to be in good form when I saw her," said Ms Hynes.
The court heard the pair met regularly in the smoking room and Ms O'Hara had been looking forward to being discharged and volunteering at the Tall Ships festival.
"She spoke about it a dozen times a day," she said.
The night before Ms O'Hara's discharge the pair had "quite a quiet conversation" in the smoking room, Ms Hynes said.
"She said her mam had passed 10 years before and she really missed her," she said.
The court heard Ms O'Hara also asked Ms Hynes how she would commit suicide - a subject described as an "unwritten rule" in the hospital.
"It's not something you talk to patients about, not something discussed," Ms Hynes said.
"I told her to mind her own business ... she did continue to tell me how she would commit suicide.
"She said she would do it with a rope that she had at home. She said it was either in her wardrobe or in the vicinity of her wardrobe. She said she had it for quite a long time."
My Hynes said she saw Ms O'Hara the next day before she was discharged, and she was in really good form.
"I wished her the best of luck and gave her a big hug and off she went," she added.
The trial continues.