Monday 11 December 2017

Porn, pictures of bodies on Elaine O'Hara's laptop

Images among personal videos of family gatherings and sports events

Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara
Graham Dwyer
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

ELAINE O'Hara's Apple laptop was, in many ways, like any other. The sleek design on the computer, familiar to many Apple fans, was home to medical information, personal videos of family gatherings and sports events.

The laptop also contained what were described as mainstream movies as well as two TV series, CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) and NCIS, a US drama series revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

But the Apple computer was also home to 16 movies of an adult pornographic nature, as well as images of mutilated bodies and naked and semi-naked photographs of Ms O'Hara.

It is the prosecution's case that Ms O'Hara was murdered by Cork-born architect Graham Dwyer. The State alleges he lured Ms O'Hara up the Dublin Mountains and murdered her for his own sexual gratification on August 22, 2012, a charge he denies.

Exhibits officer Garda Timothy McAuliffe told defence barrister Remy Farrell SC that gardai amassed almost 1,200 exhibits in the course of their investigation into the death of Ms O'Hara.

Until yesterday, trial exhibits - including documents, reports, photographs and other items of evidence tendered by the State as part of a public trial - have been visibly displayed on screens in court. But yesterday the screens went blank as graphic images and words stored on Elaine O'Hara's laptop were soberly read into the public record.

Detective Garda Brid Wallace detailed how she had examined the Apple laptop and found 16 files with BDSM-type content.

These included a number of image files with mutilated bodies from a website. They also included photos of Elaine O'Hara, some self-taken, some taken by "a different person". In some of the photos, Ms O'Hara was partially clothed or naked, allowing Det Gda Wallace to confirm a mole or birthmark on her breast.

There were a series of images, too, of healed or partially healed scars around the mid torso, near the waistline, as well as a profile image previously associated with 'helpmelearn', Elaine O'Hara's username on ALT.com, an alternative sexual interests website.

The jury watched the scroll of images intently, including a photo of Elaine O'Hara taken in 2008, smiling and standing in front of a set of oriental curtains in a house where she previously lived.

Although the images were shielded from public view, the quiet, low recitation by prosecutor Sean Guerin SC of the content of documents stored on Ms O'Hara's laptop, reverberated distinctly around the walls of the now permanently packed courtroom.

One document, called Books, was a PDF of a book called 'Serial Violence', with the sub-head 'Analysis of the Modus Operandi and Signature Characteristics of Killers'. The book, the court heard, contained graphic images of bodies and crime scene photos.

There were two letters to "Stuart" - one created on April 4, 2010, another on June 25, 2012. In both letters, Ms O'Hara spoke of her anger, in the second she said she knew she needed help.

"I don't like people shouting at me and making me mad," she said in her second letter to Stuart. "I've had that all my life from everyone," she wrote, adding that she lacked confidence to get out there and meet people as Stuart, her letter suggested, had encouraged her to do.

Much of Det Gda Wallace's testimony related to the manner in which she forensically analysed material from Ms O'Hara's phone, explaining how she had accessed documents marked "private" on the device.

This included a document created on April 15, 2009, written as a first person account, which gave a detailed account of being abducted, locked in a car before being removed to another location where the author details being held in chains, whipped and knifed.

The next document was one entitled 'Outline of a Slave', a document created in September 2010. Det Gda Wallace surmised that this may have been sent on the internet or downloaded as the total editing time was less than two minutes. It took many minutes more for the graphic, sexually explicit material in the apparent contract to be read out.

"I'm offering 24/7 sadistic and brutal treatment for masochistic slaves," the document began. The "annual slavery contract" promised the counterparty that they would be kept in a heavy duty steel cage or locked in the offeror's cellars.

To UK citizens, the offerree would receive class 3 NI (national insurance) stamps, according to the document.

"I have plenty of dom (dominant) friends so expect occasionally to have no-holds-barred heavy use. My limits ... no sex with children or forced use of drugs. Nothing will be done that will result in your death or very serious injury."

The degree of autonomy offered to prospective "masochistic slaves" was captured by the author in a sentence which stated: "Slave or not, you are a person with just one life to live and you are entering a consensual relationship."

There was a caveat which stated: "Having said that, unless listed on your limits within your contract, expect piercings, breast skewering, branding, breast suspension."

The document concluded that slavery is about domination and control, "sex is just part of it".

The final document, 'mystory.doc' - 158 words long - was created on November 5, 2011 and, again in the first person, told a story of being abducted, held in a cellar and tortured.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Tony Hunt.

Irish Independent

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