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Graham Dwyer Trial: 'I told her she was playing a dangerous game... Elaine just wanted to be loved' - friend

Elaine O’Hara told a friend she was having a relationship with an architect she met on the internet who liked to cut her, the Central Criminal Court was told.

Edna Lillis said she warned the childcare assistant that she was playing a dangerous game, but that Ms O’Hara just wanted some attention and to be loved.

Ms Lillis said she met Ms O’Hara in 2007 when they were both in St Edmundsbury Hospital, a mental health facility in Lucan, and they remained in touch until about a year before she disappeared when she lost her number.

On their last meeting Ms O’Hara showed her fresh cuts across her stomach, which she believed where three to four inches long.

“They wouldn’t have been that deep. They were just very obvious,” she said.

“She explained to me how she got them before she showed them on me.

“She said she met someone on the internet and he liked to cut her and she was having some sort of relationship with him whereby he’d cut her.

“I told her she was playing a dangerous game and to pay attention to her... Elaine just wanted to be loved. She just wanted some attention,” she said, adding that she warned her friends to keep notes of the man’s name and address somewhere in case anything happened.

Ms Lillis was giving evidence at the trial of Graham Dwyer, a 42-year-old architect who denies murdering Elaine 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.

The prosecution maintains the accused killed Ms O'Hara for his own sexual gratification.​​

Ms Lillis gave a statement to gardai after Ms O’Hara’s skeletal remains were found by a dog walker in September 2013 and told gardai the man involved with Ms O’Hara was an architect and possibly called Peter.


Elaine O'Hara

Elaine O'Hara

Elaine O'Hara

Elaine O'Hara


Elaine O'Hara

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“I knew he was an architect. For some reason I had the name Peter in my head,” she said to defence barrister Ronan Kennedy under cross examination.

Ms O’Hara “enjoyed being hurt physically” she told the court, and wasn’t afraid of the man but was wary of him as “she new maybe there was repercussions”.

Ms Lillis said she knew Ms O’Hara quite well and that she had self harmed and had suicidal tendencies, but she wouldn’t discuss the man with a counsellor.

She told the court Ms O’Hara has also never got over the death of her mother.

Elsewhere a nurse claimed Ms O’Hara told her she had met a man with children who had an interest in bondage the night before she vanished.

Rosetta Callan said Mr O’Hara revealed she was “p***ed off” as she checked on patients during her night shift at St Edmondsbury Hospital in Lucan on August 21, 2012 – the evening before Ms O’Hara’s release – so she sat on her bed for a chat.

“She started telling me about this person she had met,” she told Sean Guerin, prosecuting.

She didn’t name him, Ms Callan said, but they had a shared interest.

“An interest in bondage,” she told the court.

The nurse, who has since retired after working at the hospital for 44 years, said Ms O’Hara told her she knew the man and that he lived nearby and passed his house every day – but she had said in Garda statements he was a neighbour.

“She said he had a key to her apartment,” said Ms Callan.

She agreed she asked Ms O’Hara why she wouldn’t go to the gardai if she was being harassed.

“She said she wouldn’t go because he had young children,” she added.

“She said he had young kids and she loved kids so she wouldn’t want to harm them by going to the guards.

“She said he was constantly coming to her apartment.”

Maria Hynes, who was a patient in St Edmundsbury in August 2012, said she got to know Ms O’Hara over the two weeks they were inpatients at the same time.

“Elaine was always very happy, she was always very very chatty and always seemed to be in good form when I saw her,” said Ms Hynes.

The court heard the pair met regularly in the smoking room and Ms O’Hara had been looking forward to being discharged and volunteering at the Tall Ships.

“She spoke about it a dozen times a day,” she said.

The night before Ms O’Hara’s discharge the pair had “quite a quiet conversation” in the smoking room, Ms Hynes said.

“She said her mam had passed 10 years before and she really missed her,” she said.

Ms O’Hara also asked Ms Hynes how she could commit suicide - a subject described in court as an “unwritten rule” in the hospital.

“It’s not something you talk to patients about, not something discussed,” she said.

“I told her to mind her own business... she did continue to me how she would commit suicide.

“She said she would do it with a rope that she had at home. She said it was either in her wardrobe or in the vicinity of her wardrobe. She said she had it for quite a long time.”

My Hynes said she saw Ms O’Hara the following day and she was in really good form.

“I wished her the best of luck and gave her a big hug and off she went,” she added.

The trial continues.

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