Tuesday 20 February 2018

Graham Dwyer Trial: Gardai investigating Elaine O'Hara's death found hunting knife and flick knife in workplace of accused

Knives found in basement after Mr Dwyer volunteered the information, Central Criminal Court hears

Andrew Phelan and Sarah Stack

A GARDA sergeant found two knives in a file box in the basement of architect Graham Dwyer's workplace after he volunteered the information to gardai through his solicitor, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Detective Sergeant Peter Woods told the jury he found a hunting knife and a flick knife in the basement in February 17 2014

Mr Dwyer (42), of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, is pleading not guilty to the murder of Ms O’Hara (36) at Killakee, Rathfarnham on August 22, 2012.

Read more here: Graham Dwyer Trial: Gardai cross-examined over spade found near Elaine O'Hara's body  

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

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

Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara

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

In evidence, Det Sgt Woods said on February 17, 2014, he received a phone call from Mr Dwyer's solicitor Jonathan Dunphy and an accompanying fax message with a sketch map of the basement at A&D Wejchert Architects, Baggot Street Lower.

The fax was sent "on the initiative of Mr Dwyer and his solicitor" and not the gardai.

The map pointed to two magazine-holder style filing boxes on a top shelf in the basement.

"I found two knives, one larger than the other," Det Sgt Woods told Sean Guerin SC, prosecuting.

One was a 'Buck Special' hunting knife in a black leather scabbard and the smaller was a flick knife.

Both knives were held up in court by Det Sgt Woods for the jury to see.

Graham Dwyer
Graham Dwyer

Det Sgt Woods told the court that when the Buck knife was found it was not in its original presentation box.

Read more here: Dwyer suffered two pay cuts to €87,000 salary, court told 

Gardai had purchased a replica of it before they located the knife so they were aware of its presentation, he added.

He said the knife cover they found was in “pretty good condition” with some small marks and scratches, and the knife itself in good clean condition.

The second knife was also in good condition and its safety catch in place, he added.

Read more here: Computers and documents seized from family home 

The court was told Mr Dwyer was charged on October 18th 2013 and the book of evidence served in January 2014.

Under cross examination, defence barrister Remy Farrell said it became apparent from the prosecution evidence that gardai had attached significance that a buck hunting knife had been ordered by the defendant.

Det Sgt Woods said the fact it was delivered on August 21, 2012, was “hugely significant” for investigators.

Read more here: Accused's son shown stills from apartment block's CCTV 

Mr Farrell said gardai were also concerned there was no sign of the knife, adding that Chief Superintendent Diarmuid O' Sullivan has made a “huge emphasis” on this.

The defence said it was this that the communication and sketch showing exactly where the knife was being stored was sent to gardai, he added.​

Det Sgt Kevin Duggan told the court he also went to the architect’s office on the day and photographed the two knives in the boxes. Both images were shown to the court.

Michael Fenlon confirmed the Buck hunting knife was purchased online from his outlet, Active Hunting Ireland, based in Gorey, Co Wexford, on August 17, 2012.

The Buck Special 119 knife, which had a laminate handle, cost €95 plus €5 shipping, he said.

It is sole in a leather sheath and box, and was covered by a lifetime guarantee by Buck.

Mr Fenlon told the jury there was a “comments” section on the website where a customer could leave a message.

“Please mark private and confidential, Graham,” was written in the section, Mr Fenlon confirmed.

“That’s the note by the customer.”

Once paid for by credit card – which the court heard had Mr Dwyer’s Foxrock home as a billing address - it was dispatched by courier to Mr Dwyer’s workplace marked “Private and Confidential”.

Records showed this was signed for on August 21, 2012, he added.

The jury also heard that a query to a tattoo parlour about a tattoo in “a private area of the body” was apparently sent from an email address containing the same number as that on Mr Dwyer’s model plane club membership card.

Giving evidence, Christof Hylinski of Hydarulic Tattoos, South King Street, Dublin, said his company sent an email about a tattoo on April 28, 2011, to irl3543@gmail.com.

The content of the email was that it was “no problem to get a tattoo like this” and the price would be €100.

The mail said “we have a separate area in our studio for jobs like this one.”

Mr Hylinski had no memory of sending the mail but he found it on his computer system, printed a copy and gave it to the gardai

Asked by Mr Guerin to explain the reference to jobs like this one, Mr Hylinski said he meant “to make it more private”.

“It is a job on a more private area of the body,” he added.

Mr Guerin showed a membership card for Roundwood Eagles model plane flying club to the jury and asked Mr Hylinski to confirm the number on the card was the same as the number in the email address.

The card was shown on screens to the court and Mr Justice Tony Hunt said “it seems apparent.”

Mr Farrell asked Mr Hylinski if he wanted to get a tattoo done on a private area of the body, if there were a number of places he could get that done.

“Probably plenty of them,” Mr Hylinski replied.

Later, Siobhan McEvitt, office manager at A&D Wejchert was led through her evidence by Sinead McGrath BL, for the prosecution.

She agreed that Mr Dwyer had started work for the firm on July 2, 2001 and became a director in June, 2006.

Shortly after that, he was allocated a company phone with an 087 number. The court heard the firm had changed phone contracts over the years, beginning with Vodafone up to April 2011, switching to 3G Mobile and then switching back to Vodafone on October 16, 2012.

She handed over a number of telephone records to gardai - between September 2006 and April 2011, between June and October 2012 and between October and December 2012.

She also provided a large amount of administrative documentation.

These included an annual corporate membership of the Ireland Poland Business Association addressed to Mr Dwyer for 2012/2013.

She handed over a series of emails in relation to Mr Dwyer’s salary, all dated February 2, 2009. The first was to Ms McEvitt and David Lanigan from Mr Dwyer.

The reply from Ms McEvitt confirmed a number of details in relation to pay cuts, referring to tax matters, and telling Mr Dwyer she would show him the exact figures the following day.

An email from Mr Dwyer to Mr Lanigan, cc-ing Ms McEvitt stated: “There must be an error; my 10pc gross salary reduction couldn’t possibly result in a 15pc net salary reduction.”

He said in the mail the €700 monthly drop was “not possible or sustainable” and he would be attending the following morning.

Mr Lanigan replied that Ms McEvitt would “go through it with you in the morning.”

The final email from Ms McEvitt to Mr Dwyer dated September 25, 2012 titled “Re September Salary” states a reduction from €4,024 to €3,434.

The methodology for calculating the figures was set out.

Also handed over were breakdowns for three company visa cards, one of which Mr Dwyer could use to order items. Ms McEvitt gave gardai a feasibility study for a grant claim form in relation to a trip to Warsaw on May 30, 2012. There were documents relating to further trips on December 8 and November 16, 2011.

Detailed monthly time sheets, mileage spread sheets, holiday attendance sheets, pay slips, and daily attendance records from various dates between 2010 and 2013 were also handed over.

Ms McEvitt said the working day usually started at 8.30am and it was noted in a “clock-in” sheet left in reception if a staff member was on leave, in a meeting or working out of the office.

Minutes of meetings which Mr Dwyer attended were also shown to the jury, including a meeting at Carlow IT where he was working on a project.

Several office emails were also referred to, including one sent to all staff on August 22 2012.

Another was sent at 8.49am on Thursday, August 23, from Mr Graham regarding a project, the jury saw.

The court also heard he applied through his employers for the Cycle to Work Scheme in relation to a €629 bicycle in Cycles Superstore in Tallaght, on May 29, 2011.

The trial is expected to continue next week before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of seven men and five women.

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