Monday 23 April 2018

Graham Dwyer Trial: Gardai probing Elaine's death requested details from 450 phone cells

Elaine O'Hara (left) and murder accused Graham Dwyer
Elaine O'Hara (left) and murder accused Graham Dwyer

Andrew Phelan and Sarah Stack

GARDAI investigating the disappearance and death of Elaine O’Hara requested details from more than 450 mobile phone cells from one service provider, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

The jury in the trial of Graham Dwyer was also told that a phone number registered to Ms O’Hara was among five numbers whose records were sought by investigators.

Gardai sought call records for her number between a date in 2011 and the date she went missing.

Conor O’Callaghan, engineer with Vilicom Engineering Ltd, which works with telecom operators in relation to data, was giving evidence in the trial this morning.

Mr Dwyer (42), an architect of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, 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.

Graham Dwyer
Graham Dwyer

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.

Read more: Spatters on spade found near body 'didn't match paint in Dwyer's garden'

Mr O’Callaghan told Sean Guerin SC, for the prosecution, among the data he provided to the gardai was for a mobile phone number 086-3311207.

The customer name was recorded as Elaine O’Hara with an address at Ardmeen Lodge, Newtownpark Avenue, Blackrock, a date of birth of March 17, 1976 and an activation date of December 12, 2000.

Call records were provided for the dates October 28, 2011 to August 22, 2012.

Records were also provided for a second number, 086-1759076. This was an unregistered prepaid number that had been activated on September 15, 2011 and purchased at 02 Retail, Grafton Street on November 30 that year.

Records showed top up credits were applied to the number on July 3, 2012 at 4.40pm and at 3.52pm on December 1, 2011.

Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara

Mr O’Callaghan said information from 458 unique mobile phone cells by O2 had been compiled, including the ID for each cell, its address location co-ordinates and antenna location.

He also supplied coverage plots for 46 individual cells from Telefoncia O2 radio based stations showing the strength of signals.

In cross-examination, he told Ronan Kennedy BL, defending, that there were well over 1,000 cell IDs in the Dublin area.

The jury was then shown several maps of mobile phone cells.

Read more: Dwyer's DNA on Elaine's bloody mattress

Mr O’Callaghan told Mr Kennedy that mobile phone operators invest millions of euros in their network to ensure networks are represented accurately against the maps they publish.

“It’s quite important they have their modelled network as accurate as they can,” he said.

However he agreed there are more accurate ways of recording exact coverage areas from each mast.

When questioned again by Mr Guerin, Mr O’Callaghan said distance, as well as other factors like building clutter in Dublin city centre, would affect which cell a phone pinged off.

Jamie Clifford, information disclosure specialist with Hutchison 3G UK – trading as Three – was questioned about the purchase of the phone with the number 083 11 03474.

He confirmed in court the name of the subscriber was listed as Goroon Caisholn and it was set up for both phone and video calls.

He agreed with Mr Guerin that while it was listed as a pre-paid account since December 14, 2010, it was not purchased at its shop on Grafton Street until March 25, 2011.

This meant the phone and SIM were “put together” beforehand so makes it quicker in the shop to sell and be ready to work.

Mr Clifford agreed the date of birth on the account was 04/04/1992 and the address given was Oak Lawn, Clerihan, Co Tipperary, with an 086-phone number as a contact number.

“No was written beside the “primary address” section.

“That’s the address registered on the account” said Mr Clifford.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of seven men and five women.

Yesterday, Mr O’Callaghan told Mr Guerin he provided call data records on behalf of O2 Ireland for the number 086 1759151. The data provided included information in relation to the purchase of the phone and credit topping up.

This was an unregistered, prepaid Nokia 1616 that was bought with a prepaid SIM card at the O2 Store on Grafton Street on November 30, 2011 at 4.30pm.

It was topped up on August 18, 2012 through Paypoint at 1.27am, at 1.39pm on July 24, 2012 through An Post, on December 30, 2011 at 4.05pm through Paypoint and on December 1, 2011 at 7.21am through Payzone.

The jury had heard gardai investigating the disappearance of Elaine O’Hara requested records for a total of five mobile phone numbers from telecom providers

Detectives sought the data through Chief Superintendents Peter Kirwan and John Gilligan for the numbers 086 3311207, 086 1759151, 083 1103474, 086 1759076 and 087 2100407.

For the 083-1103474 number, the court heard records were provided for calls between October 7, 2011 and October 17, 2013.

Mr Clifford said he also provided top up records for the phone, which was prepaid.

One was a Hutchison 3G €10 voucher with a "burn" date of March 28, 2012 at 10.57am.

The next, bought through Payzone for €10 cash, was burned on November 22 at 11.40am.

Another voucher was corrupted and Mr Clifford could not confirm how it was sold.

A €10 voucher was burned on April 24, 2011 at 8.31am and a €40 voucher had a date and time of March 25, 2011 at 12.25pm.

Mr Clifford told Mr Guerin he provided cell site information in relation to 27 cell sites.

In relation to 160 cell sites that the jury previously heard there had been issues with, Mr Clifford confirmed that these had been incorrectly inputted and he had been able to rectify the problem and produce the data.

He provided data for another phone, with a number 087 2100407.

The subscriber for a period in 2011 and 2012 was A&D Wejchert Architects at Lower Baggott Street and the name given was Siobhan McKevitt.

A connection date was recorded as April 7, 2011 and it was disconnected on October 16, 2012.

Mr Clifford told Mr Guerin this was a contract that had been set up for that period.

He provided call data details for the number for dates between October 7, 2011 and November 30, 2012.

Mr O’Callaghan told Mr Kennedy that mobile phone operators invest millions of euros in their network to ensure networks are represented accurately against the maps they publish.

“It’s quite important they have their modelled network as accurate as they can,” he said.

However he agreed there are more accurate ways of recording exact coverage areas from each mast.

When questioned again by Mr Guerin, Mr O’Callaghan said distance, as well as other factors like building clutter in Dublin city centre, would affect which cell a phone pinged off.

Jamie Clifford, information disclosure specialist with Hutchison 3G UK – trading as Three – was questioned about the purchase of the phone with the number 083 11 03474.

He confirmed in court the name of the subscriber was listed as Goroon Caisholn and it was set up for both phone and video calls.

He agreed with Mr Guerin that while it was listed as a pre-paid account since December 14, 2010, it was not purchased at its shop on Grafton Street until March 25, 2011.

This meant the phone and SIM were “put together” beforehand so makes it quicker in the shop to sell and be ready to work.

Mr Clifford agreed the date of birth on the account was 04/04/1992 and the address given was Oak Lawn, Clerihan, Co Tipperary, with an 086-phone number as a contact number.

“No was written beside the “primary address” section.

“That’s the address registered on the account” said Mr Clifford.

The trial before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of seven men and five women continues.

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