Wednesday 20 November 2019

Elaine's dad: 'She asked a man to kill her but he wouldn't'

Frank O'Hara reveals daughter told him she was seeing an architect who tied her up

Sarah Stack and Andrew Phelan

ELAINE O’HARA told her father in 2008 that she was seeing a married architect, and that she had asked him to kill her – but he wouldn’t do it, it was alleged today.

Frank O’Hara said that his daughter also said that the architect was performing sex acts with her when she was tied up.

Graham Dwyer, who is accused of killing Elaine O’Hara (inset).
Graham Dwyer, who is accused of killing Elaine O’Hara (inset).

Mr O’Hara was giving evidence at the Central Criminal Court on the second day of the trial of architect Graham Dwyer, who denies the murder of Ms O’Hara.

The Cork-born architect is charged with murdering the 36-year-old Dubliner on August 22nd, 2012, hours after she was discharged from St Edmundsbury Hospital in Lucan, where she had been a psychiatric patient.

Mr Dwyer of Kerrymout Close, Foxrock, Dublin has pleaded not guilty to murdering the childcare worker on that date at Killakee, Rathfarnham.

A dog walker found her skeletal remains in that wooded area of the Dublin Mountains on September 13th, 2013, the same week as her keys were found in an almost-dry reservoir in Wicklow.

Read more: Cause of Elaine's death 'undetermined' and her skull has never been found - pathologist

Mr O’Hara told the jury his daughter was in excellent form when he last saw on that August day. They had visited her mother's grave and she had taken his granddaughter for a walk.

She had a history of psychiatric illness going back 20 years and had harmed herself in the past, but she was in “great form” when she left him that afternoon and looking forward to volunteering at the Tall Ship Festival the following day.

He testified that they'd had an argument in early 2008 and that she told him she was seeing a married architect from Foxrock.

Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara

Mr O'Hara said the argument could have had something to do with money because his daughter was "poor at handling money."

"She said, ‘I am seeing somebody’ and I said. ‘who?’" Mr O'Hara told the jury. "She said, 'a professional'. I tried to enquire but she was very reticent to give me information.

"I said, 'Is he married?’ She said, 'Yes'. She said, 'He ties me up and masturbates over me but we haven't had sex'. Then she told me he was an architect from Foxrock."

"I was shocked," he said, adding that they hadn't discussed it again, apart from her telling him that it was over at one stage.

Graham Dwyer
Graham Dwyer

Under cross examination by Remy Farrell SC, defending, he agreed that he had told gardai that his daughter would often say something to try to shock him.

"I believe it was her way of ending the conversation," he had said.

Read more: Elaine's dad: 'She said she was seeing an architect who tied her up and performed sex acts'

He agreed that she was 'possibly' agitated when she told him about the relationship with the Foxrock architect.

"I don't think Elaine would have told me unless she was agitated," he explained from the witness box.

Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara

Mr Farrell also asked him about something else he had told gardai about that relationship.

"I think I remember her saying also that she had asked him to kill her but he wouldn't," he had said in a statement. "I was shattered after hearing the news."

The deceased’s father agreed that his daughter attempted suicide on three occasions, but he regarded two has being serious.

He said she suffered from a number of physical ailments including diabetes. She was dyslexic and "quite intelligent," he said.

Mr O’Hara returned to the stand for just a few minutes after lunch and told the court that after his daughter’s disappearance he hired a company to shred any documents which contained personal information on his daughters, like education certificates and bank statements.

As he finished giving evidence prosecutor Sean Guerin asked him if he had any indication he daughter would self harm on the last day he saw her.

“Absolutely not,” he added.

Earlier, the defence barrister again went through the timeline of Ms O’Hara’s disappearance, with Mr O’Hara recalling how his son-in-law found her car at the cemetery car park on the Friday around the time she was reported missing.

Mr Farrell asked Mr O’Hara if he was concerned his daughter had taken her own life.

“I was confused... It obviously it had crossed my mind,” he replied.

“I had an open mind at that stage.”

The court heard Ms O’Hara’s apartment was searched on the Friday evening and among the items found was a black latex bodysuit and a rope.

Mr Farrell asked Mr O’Hara if he ever found any paraphernalia one might associate with unusual sexual activity in his daughter’s apartment.

“I don’t recall coming across anything,” he replied, adding he didn’t think he would know what it looked like.

Read more: Image emerges of a vulnerable soul who wanted to settle down

Giving evidence this afternoon, the deputy state pathologist said the cause of Ms O’Hara’s death remains undetermined, and her skull has never been recovered.

Dr Michael Curtis said he visited the wooded area where her body was found with a forensic anthropologist.

Some of Ms O’Hara’s bones had also been scattered and only between 60 to 65 per cent of her remains were found.

“The principal piece that was not discovered was the skull,” he added.

He told the prosecution barrister there was no evidence of any trauma to the bones before death, including any evidence of stabbing.

In cross-examination, Dr Curtis was asked if many self-harm incidents did not display bony injuries.

Dr Curtis agreed. He also agreed that taking medication did not result in bony injury. He said asphyxiation may cause some bone injury but frequently would not.

He said it was “anecdotally less common” for a stabbing in the chest to leave no bony injury but “by no means rare.”

Mr Farrell asked if there would be bony injury as a result of a stabbing to the abdomen.

“Almost certainly not,” he replied.

Mr Dwyer has pleaded not guilty to murder. The trial continues before Judge Hunt.

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