Wednesday 21 February 2018

Graham Dwyer Trial: Accused had wages cut twice in year before arrest

Sarah Stack and Andrew Phelan

Architect Graham Dwyer had his wages cut twice before he was arrested by gardai investigating the death of Elaine O’Hara, the Central Criminal Court heard.

Documents seized from his family home in Foxrock showed he was earning more than €87,000 a year before his pay was cut by 10pc in January 2011 and again by 11.5pc from June 2011.

Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara

The two letters from his employers, A&D Wejchert architects on Dublin’s Baggot Street, were found in a filing cabinet found in the hallway of his home in Kerrymount Close.

Letters showed that Mr Dwyer, who was a partner in the firm, was told on December 22, 2010, that his pay was being cut from €87,350 to 78,615. He was informed in a letter dated Jun 20 2011, that his salary would be lowered to €70,000. Further correspondence dated May 31, 2011, referred to a pension premium of €13,618.

Gardai searched the property for more than a day when Mr Dwyer was arrested on the morning of October 17, 2013, a month after Ms O’Hara’s remains were found in the Dublin mountains.

Mr Dwyer, 42, denies murdering the 36-year-old childcare assistant on August 22, 2012.

Graham Dwyer
Graham Dwyer

Read more: Graham Dwyer Trial: Gardai showed Graham Dwyer's son stills of CCTV taken at Elaine O'Hara's apartment complex

Detective Garda Colm Gregan, of Blackrock Garda Station, told prosecution barrister Anne Marie Lawlor, he searched an 03 D Audi A4 outside the house, and seized a grey and black Northface jacket found in the boot. An 02 D Land Rover Freelander was also parked outside.

In the house, he seized a filing cabinet which he examined back in the station 11 days laters, the court heard.

Among the documents detained was a letter from Mr Dwyer’s son Shennan McShea, birth certificates for Mr Dwyer’s young son and daughter, correspondence about salary cuts and pensions from his employers, and several invoices from garages which had been paid.

Under cross examination, he told defence counsel Remy Farrell that he “honestly could not recall” if he had been asked to look for specific paperwork regarding Mr Dwyer’s salary.

He said he took hold of items he believed may or may not be relevant to the investigation, but couldn’t remember why.

Mr Farrell questioned why the Garda seized other particular items from the house, including cable ties and a wet suit.

“I do recall something in relation to a wet suit hat,” Det Cregan replied.

“It was relevant to the scene where the body was found or thereabouts.”

Read more: Dwyer arrested answering door

The court heard Garda Sean Balfe was involved in the search of Mr Dwyer’s home on October 17 and 18, 2013. In the master bedroom he seized a Hewlitt Packard laptop on a desk in the corner. At the same desk there were three drawers and in the top drawer he found a Seagate hard drive.

In the second drawer, Garda Balfe found two media storage devices. These were for the storage of electronic data.

Garda Jonathan Shine was involved in the search on October 17. In an office upstairs in the house, he located a HP desktop PC under the desk.

Garda Derek Mullen said he seized a small tube of Arnica cream in a beside locker in a child’s bedroom.

Detective Garda William Kavanagh was appointed exhibits officer and note taker in the search of the house, which resulted in the seizure of 219 exhibits. He gave evidence of recording the items found.

In cross examination by Mr Farrell, he agreed that the focus of the search was on computers and digital media.

He agreed there were other items of interest to the gardai including bull clips, “cable ties and so on.” Mr Farrell said this was “not a State secret.”

Det Gda Kavanagh agreed that condoms were also seized in the search of the house.

Also seized were a grey tarpaulin from one of the vehicles, a backpack and a couple of rolls of duct tape.

There was financial documentation and “a lot more besides.”

“One thing that doesn’t appear in the exhibits chart, there is no reference to a shovel or spade being seized,” Mr Farrell said.

Det Gda Kavanagh agreed.

The court later heard Garda photographers Dermot Whiston and Derek Coady took photographs as search teams examined Mr Dwyer’s home on Foxrock and his workplace.

Both men told the court they took thousands of images, which were handed over to investigators who created albums for the trial.

Under cross examination, Gde Whiston told defence counsel Remy Farrell he took six CDs worth of photographs inside and outside the building.

One photograph shown on the screen was of a Green wheelie bin with a spade and old desk next to it.

“As far as I can recollect it was at the rear of the garden,” he added.

Several officers who were involved in the search of his workplace on Lower Baggot Street also gave evidence on what items were seized from where the premises.

The jury had previously heard these items included business cards and invoices relating to miniature model aeroplanes, hard drives, DVDs and documents relating to his attendance.

Earlier, the court heard that gardai showed Graham Dwyer’s son stills of CCTV footage taken at Elaine O’Hara’s apartment complex “to see if he could identify anyone".

Sennan McShea was shown the images and signed the backs of ones he was “most confident about,” Detective Garda Paul Corcoran told the jury.

Det Gda Corcoran told the jury he took over the role of family liaison officer from September 18, 2013 and was also responsible for dealing with the continuity of exhibits.

Led through his evidence by barrister Anne Marie Lawlor, prosecuting, Det Gda Corcoran said on October 18, he showed a number of photo stills to Sennan McShea, a son of Graham Dwyer, from the CCTV footage from Belarmine Plaza.

Ms Lawlor asked him what the purpose of this was.

“We were aware that Sennan McShea is the son of Mr Dwyer,” Det Gda Corcoran replied. “The purpose of showing them to him was to see if he could identify anyone in the stills that were in the booklet.”

Asked if Mr McShea was shown a still so he could identify his father, Det Gda Corcoran replied: “He would have been shown all the stills in the booklet and he would have identified the ones he was most confident about.”

Mr McShea signed the reverse of a number of photos.

The trial is expected to continue before the jury on Friday morning.

Online Editors

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