Tuesday 12 December 2017

Even in 'alternate' world of BDSM, Elaine sought a caring relationship

Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

HER sexual interests were "more extreme" agreed Mark Guerin, a man who slept with Elaine O'Hara after meeting her on a 'sub-dom' website.

But even in the alternative sexual world of BDSM; of slaves and masters, of sexual tastes including breath play, humiliation, mummification and knife play, the troubled childcare worker was looking for a permanent relationship with someone who was loyal, frank and trustworthy.

Yesterday the Central Criminal Court heard, on day 14 of the Graham Dwyer trial, that the childcare worker - who described herself as a submissive on the website ALT.com - wanted a 24/7 relationship with a caring yet strict master, but had "no expectations" in this regard.

Mr Dwyer, an architect and married man with two young children as well as an adult son, denies murdering Ms O'Hara (36) on August 22nd, 2012. Ms O'Hara's skeletal remains were found at Kilakee in the Dublin mountains on September 13, 2013.

Yesterday, a jury of seven men and five women heard that Ms O'Hara had an ALT.com profile with a picture of a woman bent over and tied up. The court heard that the submissive liaised with other members of the site with the username helpmelearn-36/F.

On her ALT.com profile page, Ms O'Hara ticked the boxes on a range of sexual preferences including bondage, kidnapping, knife play, sensory deprivation and verbal humiliation.

The profile invited those interested to call her "f**k meat". But, in a section entitled "My Ideal Person," she described how she wanted to meet someone who could train her to be the best submissive/slave she can be.

Yesterday, two men who had sexual relations with the late Elaine O'Hara described meeting her through ALT.com, described as a website for people who like being submissive and dominant.

Most of yesterday morning was pre-occupied by the evidence of model plane enthusiasts, a car mechanic, a tyre fitter and a bicycle shop owner who sold a bike to the accused.

At first, Robert Cullen Jones appeared to be yet another model plane enthusiast who flies planes in the shadow of the Sugar Loaf.

But witness 105 quietly confirmed to prosecutor Sean Guerin SC that he met Elaine O'Hara through ALT.com, where his username was Dublin_master.

After meeting through the website, the pair met at Dundrum Shopping Centre for coffee in April 2011. After an hour, Mr Cullen Jones returned with Ms O'Hara to her Belarmine Plaza apartment in Stepaside where the childcare assistant showed a range of sexual paraphernalia to Mr Cullen Jones and told him about her sexual preferences. During the discussion, Ms O'Hara told him that she was interested in sex games, bondage and restraint, being tied up.

The pair also had sex.

They met again in May 2012 and exchanged the odd text after that. But, said Mr Cullen Jones, the relations "fizzled out".

Sensing Mr Cullen Jones' discomfort, defence counsel Remy Farrell SC told Mr Cullen that he appreciated the difficulty of giving evidence in a case of this nature, reassuring the witness that he had no interest in prying into his personal relationships.

But for all its delicate delivery, the cross examination entailed a certain degree of painful probing into the alternative world of BDSM and websites including ALT.com, FetLife.com and CollarMe.com.

Mr Cullen Jones agreed with Mr Farrell that certain keywords, such as "breathplay" (restricting someone's breath by asphyxiation) "waxplay" (the use of candles) and "knifeplay" - which the witness said was "like cutting" - could give away a person's 'sub/dom' status or preferences .

Mark Guerin also met Elaine O'Hara through ALT.com. His username, confirmed to the court, was time2killindublin, but his preferences - waxplay with light kink - were not compatible with Elaine O'Hara's "play" preferences.

When Mark Guerin first met Elaine O'Hara, they spoke "quite a bit" and he formed the impression that she was quite nervous and had a low opinion of herself.

They did not have sex on this occasion, but she mentioned to him that she had self harmed and had "cutting marks" on her body that were not consensual.

Elaine was in better form, a couple of years later, after moving to her new apartment at Belarmine Plaza.

And, after she initiated contact once again, Mr Guerin visited her and helped her unpack into her new surroundings. Mr Guerin, who was also a member of FetLife.com, said that Ms O'Hara laid out several items on her new bed including restraints - later described as underbed restraints - and he noticed up to three silicone anal plugs.

They did have sex on this occasion, but Mr Guerin told his namesake - prosecutor Sean Guerin SC - that they both formed the view that their sexual and social interests were not the same. Other men who used alternative lifestyle websites - and who found themselves embroiled in a murder trial - testified yesterday, including Sean Byrne whose username was 'thestrictone'.

Mr Byrne had never met Elaine O'Hara but his number was in her phone. Kurt Ronnkuist never met Elaine O'Hara either - he came to the attention of gardai because he had exchanged instant chat messages her on ALT.com.

Patrick McGuirk was not sure how his phone number ended up on Ms O'Hara's list, but conceded it may have been through an alternative lifetsyle website, while Bernard Grealy explained that he had never met Elaine O'Hara but may have been in contact with someone belived to have been her via such a website.

The disclosures about Ms O'Hara's private sexual desires proved too much for her father Frank O'Hara and other family members who left courtroom number 13 on two separate occasions.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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