Saturday 25 November 2017

Graham Dwyer Trial: Elaine had sexual relations with a man she met on adult member website, court hears

Robert Cullen Jones said he earlier met her for coffee in a shopping centre

Witness Robert Cullen Jones leaving Dublin Central Criminal Court. Photo: Collins Court
Witness Robert Cullen Jones leaving Dublin Central Criminal Court. Photo: Collins Court

Andrew Phelan and Sarah Stack

CHILDCARE assistant Elaine O’Hara had sex with a man she met on an 'adult member' website after she met him for coffee in a shopping centre, the Central Criminal Court heard today.

Robert Cullen Jones told the jury he met the 36-year-old childcare assistant through the website Alt.com, which he described as being for people who like being submissive or dominant, and those who like to “give control to someone else in a sexual way”.

Mr Cullen Jones was giving evidence in the trial of Graham Dwyer (42), of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, who is pleading not guilty to the murder of Ms O’Hara (36) at Killakee, Rathfarnham on August 22, 2012.

Ms O’Hara, a childcare assistant from Killiney, was last seen alive near Shanganagh Cemetery in Shankill that day.

Her remains were found by a dog walker in undergrowth in the Dublin mountains on September 13, 2013.

The prosecution maintains Mr Dwyer killed her for his own sexual gratification.

Witness Robert Cullen Jones at court earlier today where he gave evidence in the trial of Graham Dwyer who has pleaded not guilty to the murder Elaine O'Hara in August 2012. Pic: Courtpix
Witness Robert Cullen Jones at court earlier today where he gave evidence in the trial of Graham Dwyer who has pleaded not guilty to the murder Elaine O'Hara in August 2012. Pic: Courtpix
Witness Robert Cullen Jones at court earlier today where he gave evidence in the trial of Graham Dwyer who has pleaded not guilty to the murder Elaine O'Hara in August 2012. Pic: Courtpix
Witness Robert Cullen Jones at court earlier today where he gave evidence in the trial of Graham Dwyer who has pleaded not guilty to the murder Elaine O'Hara in August 2012. Pic: Courtpix

Giving evidence this morning, Mr Cullen Jones said he and Ms O'Hara first met online around March 2011 when he searched through the website. They started texting before meeting up the following month.

The court heard members had to sign in as members for the site and Ms O’Hara’s profile was ‘Helpmelearn 36/F’ and his username was ‘Dublin_master’.

He said Ms O’Hara “would have described herself as submissive”.

Speaking quietly and slowly in the packed courtroom, Mr Cullen Jones agreed with Sean Guerin, prosecution counsel, that the pair made contact “fairly infrequent” over a couple of weeks before they met.

Architect Graham Dwyer is accused of the murder of Elaine O’Hara (inset), from Killiney, Co Dublin
Architect Graham Dwyer is accused of the murder of Elaine O’Hara (inset), from Killiney, Co Dublin

They had exchanged numbesr and “mainly text messaged” before they eventually met for coffee in Dundrum Shopping Centre for an hour.

“Towards the end of that time you agreed with Ms O’Hara to go back to her place?” asked Mr Guerin.

Mr Cullen Jones agreed.

Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara

They went back to her apartment in Belarmaine Plaza, Stepaside, where they had “sexual relations”, Mr Guerin said.

“That’s right,” Mr Cullen Jones said.

The court heard Ms O’Hara also told Mr Cullen Jones about her interests and previous relations, and that she liked being tied up.

“She did say that, yes,” he said, adding that they had not been involved in that element.

The court heard that Mr Cullen Jones was at the apartment for about an hour and left and the pair met again for coffee in May 2012.

Remy Farrell SC for Graham Dwyer
Remy Farrell SC for Graham Dwyer

After the second meeting in Dundrum Shopping centre he did not return to her apartment and that was the last time he saw her, he said.

There was the “odd text” after that meeting but it kind of fizzled out and he deleted her number from his mobile phone.

However he was questioned when gardai found his number on her phone.

Mr Cullen Jones told Mr Guerin his email address on the site had been williamkly@hotmail.com. He explained that personal email addresses did not appear on users’ profiles unless they gave them to somebody.

He did not recall giving his address to Ms O’Hara but said he might have.

Mr Guerin asked Mr Cullen Jones how Ms O’Hara would have classified her preferences.

“She described herself as submissive,” he replied.

After the last time he saw her in May, his only contact with Ms O’Hara was “the odd text here and there.”

Mr Guerin asked if there had been a discussion about her health on the second occasion they met.

“She mentioned that she had been depressed for a while,” Mr Cullen Jones replied.

The discussion did not go into any more detail and was “just a passing remark,” he said.

He was aware that Ms O’Hara had lost one of her parents but it “wasn’t clear” which.

Read more: Graham Dwyer Trial: Model airplane club quizzed about a dead sheep

Mr Guerin said while Mr Cullen Jones was in Ms O’Hara’s apartment, there had been “some discussion or mention of restraints or being tied up.” Ms O’Hara had showed him some items and Mr Cullen agreed he had described them as “sexual paraphernalia.”

Asked if he recalled what they were, he said: “I remember a pair of handcuffs, she had them in a drawer by the side of her bed.”

Mr Guerin asked how many handcuffs he recalled seeing.

He replied that he recalled seeing one pair - they were silver with a small link in between the two cuffs.

There were other items that he could not remember now.

He agreed that he recalled seeing a number of different vibrators, and that they were battery operated. Gardai had asked him if he had been in email contact with Ms O’Hara and he made his laptop available to them to be checked if necessary.

He also provided swabs for the purpose of DNA analysis.

The jury heard Mr Cullen Jones had been shown a number of photographs by gardai of items that were found at different stages of the investigation.

He was asked if he recognised any or if they looked similar to anything he had seen.

“I remember seeing one of the handcuffs and it could well have been the same one I saw when I was at the apartment but I couldn’t be certain,” Mr Cullen Jones told the court.

He was shown a picture of an item which he described to the court as a “butt plug”. Mr Guerin asked if he had seen anything like that at Ms O’Hara’s apartment.

“I can’t remember seeing it, to be honest I mainly remember seeing the handcuffs and the vibrator,” he replied.

On the subject of the "butt plugs", Mr Guerin said Mr Cullen Jones had mentioned them in a statement he made to gardai when he was shown the photographs at Dundrum Garda Station in October 2013.

Mr Cullen Jones said: "I remember seeing something of that shape alright, but I couldn't exactly say what it was."

He said there were "maybe two" but there could have been a third.

He was shown a picture of two sets of cuffs with a linking rusty chain and Mr Guerin asked if he had told gardai he was of the view that this was not what he had seen.

He replied to Mr Guerin that he would have seen something “very like the top two cuffs” but not the rest.

He was shown a photo of a muddy red and black backpack but he had never seen it before.

“In terms of what you discussed with Ms O’Hara, I think what she told you was that she had a fantasy to engage in sexual games, as in bondage or restraint where she would be tied up and submissive, giving up control of her situation,” Mr Guerin said.

Mr Cullen Jones said: “that is correct, yes.”

This was the only fantasy that she discussed with him.

In cross-examination by Remy Farrell SC, defending, Mr Cullen Jones agreed that “alt” was an abbreviation for alternative and the "alt.com" site catered for alternative sexual tastes.

An abbreviation for the submissive or dominant relationships people on the site were interested in was “sub dom.”

Mr Cullen Jones agreed there were various subdivisions that were ascertainable from people’s profile names.

Mr Farrell put it to him that various expressions cropped up like “breath play.”

Mr Cullen Jones said he imagined this involved restricting someone’s breath. He agreed that a word for this was asphyxiation.

Other expressions were “wax play,” which Mr Cullen Jones presumed involved using candles, and “knife play” which was “like cutting,” he told Mr Farrell.

He said another website for the interests in question was www.fetlife.com and www.collarme.com.

Mr Cullen Jones agreed that his email address did not bear any relation to his own name. He had used the name William, which was his middle name, and this was the name his number was stored under on Ms O’Hara’s phone.

Mr Cullen Jones agreed with Mr Farrell that “it was fair to say” Ms O’Hara was more in to sex toys than him.

Then Ms O’Hara’s profile was shown on a screen in the court room giving details on herself, writing that she “hates these things” as you don’t know someone until you meet them.

“I have been a sub on and off for a while,” read Mr Farrell, adding that the word meant submissive.

“I’ve have learned a lot but I still have a lot to learn,” he continued adding that Ms O’Hara wrote that her fetish was bondage and she wanted to serve her master.

“I would love a 24/7 relations but I have no expectations,” he continued reading.

Ms O’Hara had listed her ideal person as someone who would train her to be the best submissive slave she can be.

However, she also she wanted someone trustworthy, caring and strict, a 24/7 slave, the court heard.

She then ticked several boxes on her profile page including bondage, collar and leads/leash, kidnapping, knife play, mummification, sensory deprivation, spanking, slap in the face and verbal humiliation.

Ms O’Hara listed her own date of birth on the sheet and described herself as a 36-year-old female and non-smoker.

Her profile picture was of a female bent over tied up, the court was told.

Mr Cullen Jones agreed with Mr Farrell that member of Alt.com could connect with individuals and accept friends, like other social networking sites.

Mr Farrell listed several other men who were friends with Ms O’Hara on the site, including two from Germany and other usernames like 'dominatesexdrive' and 'cavanman10'.

“It was clear it quite from her profile Ms O’Hara putting herself forward as the submissive person in the website and explicitly described herself as a slave,” said Mr Farrell.

“That’s right,” the softly spoken witness replied.

Mr Cullen Jones said when he made a statement to gardai In October 2013 he recalled two butt plugs and cuffs with chains in Ms O’Hara’s bedroom.

“It appeared to be a fantasy of hers to engage in bondage, restraints and being submissive and giving control to another,” Mr Farrell said.

“That was it,” he said.

The witness said he did not know of any other sexual fantasies she had.

The court heard the phone number of another Alt.com member, Bernard Grealy, was also found on Ms O’Hara’s phone.

He told the court he joined the site several years ago and had been in touch with a woman through private messaging in 2011, who he now believes was Ms O’Hara after seeing the profile picture.

Mr Grealy said they also texted for a few weeks ad were supposed to meet up, but never did.

Mr Guerin asked Mr Grealy if his recollection was that Mr O’Hara was “in to being tied up”?

“Yes,” he replied.

He later told gardai he would have been working or probably playing five-a-side on the day she vanished, Wednesday August 22.

Under cross examination, he told defence barrister Ronan Kennedy that he could not remember who initiated the conversation.

He agreed the conversation would have been of a sexual nature.

“Probably one night there’d be a few texts and then there’d be a break,” he said.

The trial continues.

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