Tuesday 16 January 2018

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

Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

PAINT on a spade found near the skeletal remains of Elaine O'Hara did not match the paint that was used in the garden of murder accused Graham Dwyer's home, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Mr Dwyer's wife Gemma Dwyer told his murder trial on Wednesday that she recognised a spade found at Killakee Mountain in Rathfarnham as "the spade from our garden".

"The stickers were familiar, but also the spatters of orangey red paint on it," Ms Dwyer told the court, explaining that their shed and fencing had been painted with Fence Life paint which had gotten everywhere.

Bridget Fleming from the chemistry section of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) yesterday said she examined spots of paint found on the spade with paint found in Mr Dwyer's garden - including part of his garden fence - after Ms Dwyer identified the spade and said the spots arose while the fence was painted.


But Ms Fleming, who said she was asked to examine paint, protector and a piece of fence from Mr Dwyer's garden - as well as the spade found near Ms O'Hara's remains - said that although the samples were similar, they did not match.

Mr Dwyer (42), an architect from Kerrymount Close in Foxrock, denies murdering childcare assistant Elaine O'Hara (36) on August 22, 2012.

Ms Fleming explained to the jury of seven men and five women that she was asked to examine the items from Mr Dwyer's garden to see whether any traces from the spade could be from the same source, namely Mr Dwyer's home.

Ms Fleming, who was shown the spade during her evidence, said the brown stains on the spade "appeared like dried-on paint droplets".

Ms Fleming said she carried out both microscopic and chemical composition tests, using an infrared spectrometer to look at the chemical groupings present.

She said that although there were similarities in composition between the paint spots found on the spade and samples from Mr Dwyer's home, she observed differences in chemical composition. "They did not match," Ms Fleming told prosecutor Sean Guerin SC.

Under cross examination, Ms Fleming was questioned at length by Remy Farrell SC, defending, about the spots of paint found on the spade located at Killakee. She told the court that after another FSL colleague, Dr David Casey, saw what he thought were spots of paint on the handle as he examined it, she arranged to view it with him on December 12, 2013.

She examined it forensically between December 18, 2013, and February 4, 2014, when she prepared her report, the court heard.

"I understood that it related to that the suspect's wife had identified it and said spots of paint had arisen while the garden fence was being painted. That was my understanding," she said. Ms Fleming said she also had a piece of the painted fence from the garden in Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, along with several samples of paint taken from the Dwyer home.

The scientist told the court all the paints were similar, had the same general use and had the main same ingredients, despite being manufactured by different firms. However, she found small differences in the chemical composition between the spots on the spade and in the tins.

"That is why it did not match. It's very similar but did not match," she said.

"It wasn't the same as any of the paint which I saw from Kerrymount Close."

The trial, expected to last another three weeks, continues.

Irish Independent

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