Wednesday 22 January 2020

Enjoying a pint – a week later architect charged with murder

Graham Dwyer, who is accused of the murder of Elaine O’Hara, a week before his arrest, at a social function in Bandon, Co Cork for former scouts.
Graham Dwyer is put in a garda car following his appearance at Dun Laoghaire District Court, where he was charged with the murder of Elaine O’Hara.
Elaine O’Hara
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

THIS is murder accused Graham Dwyer enjoying a pint in his home town just a week ago.

Today, the married father of two is in a Dublin prison after being charged with the murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara.

Mr Dwyer, who lives with his wife and children in Foxrock, south Dublin, travelled to his native Bandon, Co Cork for a reunion, where he socialised with friends as part of Rebel Week.

The married father of two has denied murdering Ms O’Hara, whose body was discovered in the Dublin Mountains last month, more than a year after she had been reported missing.

Last weekend, Mr Dwyer travelled to Bandon for a scouts’ reunion dinner dance.

During the gathering, which was held at the Munster Arms Hotel as part of Bandon Rebel Week, Mr Dwyer was photographed with his fellow former scouts.

It was a world away from the events of the last two days, which saw the architect arrested at his family home on Thursday morning and yesterday appear before Dun Laoghaire District Court, charged with murder.

Mr Dwyer arrived at the court in the back of an unmarked garda car shortly after 10am and was escorted to the courtroom, where he sat, flanked by two detectives, for almost 20 minutes before the hearing got under way.

The 41-year-old, from Kerrymount Close in Foxrock, waited patiently for proceedings to start and gazed about the courtroom, where more than a dozen reporters had assembled.

As Judge Bridget Reilly entered the court, the architect’s case was the first to be called and he was escorted to the front of the room by a plainclothes detective.

Detective Sergeant Peter Woods, of Blackrock garda station, gave evidence of the arrest of Mr Dwyer at his home in Foxrock on Thursday morning.

The court heard how, shortly before 8am yesterday, Mr Dwyer was formally charged with the murder of Ms O’Hara (36) at a location in Co Dublin on August 22, 2012.

After being charged and cautioned, the architect was asked if he had anything to say and he replied: “I do – not guilty.”

Det Sgt Woods applied for the accused man to be remanded in custody at Cloverhill Prison in Dublin for one week.

Mr Dwyer listened attentively throughout the brief hearing, cocking his head to one side at times, as his solicitor, Jonathan Dunphy, talked to the judge. Mr Dunphy said his client was applying for legal aid in the case.

Det Sgt Woods said he was aware of the defendant’s financial background and had no objection to him being granted legal aid.

Remanded

However, the judge said she was deferring the matter until later and remanded Mr Dwyer in custody until next Friday, when he is due to appear before Cloverhill District Court.

The public benches of the court were crowded with people – among them, a middle-aged woman who sat clutching a handkerchief as she looked at Mr Dwyer across the room.

Mr Dwyer, who was dressed in black trousers and a black woollen jumper, did not speak during the hearing and, with proceedings at an end, he rose from his seat and was escorted out of the courtroom by a detective and taken through to the adjoining garda station.

Outside on the street, around half-a-dozen photographers and cameramen gathered at the gates of the station, waiting for Mr Dwyer to emerge. A group of local residents had also congregated on the footpaths, pausing on their morning errands, to catch a glimpse of the murder accused.

Shortly before 11am, a garda four-wheel drive emerged from the rear of the building, followed by a silver Ford Mondeo with Mr Dwyer inside.

With a flurry of flashes from he waiting press photographers, the two vehicles pulled out on to the narrow street and accelerated away.

Mr Dwyer’s wife, fellow architect Gemma Dwyer (36), was not in court for the hearing.

A successful architect with many major projects under her belt, she has previously spoken publicly about a more personal project – the renovation, with her husband, of a 100-year-old cottage in Rathmines, Dublin.

She told Eddie Hobbs’s ‘You And Your Money’ about how the couple spent several years renovating and extending the cottage, which had originally been built at the turn of the century for firemen and their families.

“It had been crudely done up and modified through the ages,” she said, adding: “The original construction was fairly poor. It had rubble and concrete walls and no foundations. There was rising damp and no central heating, just one log-burning stove.”

In an article offering advice to other would-be renovators, she told how the couple bought some storage heaters, painted the cottage white throughout and then moved in.

“We lived like that for three years,” she said.

Ms O’Hara’s father, Francis, reported his daughter missing to gardai on August 24 last year.

The childcare worker, who also worked part-time at a newsagent’s shop in Blackrock, had left her home at Belarmine Plaza in Stepaside, Co Dublin, two days earlier and was last seen near a footbridge over the rail line at Shanganagh in Shankill.

Her car, a distinctive turquoise Fiat Punto, was found at Shanganagh Cemetery on August 24. Her family believed that she had travelled to the cemetery to visit the grave of her mother, who had died months earlier. Her disappearance was initially treated as that of a missing person.

However, on September 13 this year, a woman out walking her dog discovered the decomposed remains of Ms O’Hara in undergrowth not far from the Killakee road, outside Rathfarnham in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains.

A number of items belonging to Ms O’Hara had been found two days earlier at Roundwood reservoir in Co Wicklow, including her mobile phone and a key fob.

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