Monday 18 December 2017

Estate agents bolster security after Dwyer trial revealed he planned to kill 'pretty young auctioneer'

Graham Dwyer
Graham Dwyer Newsdesk Newsdesk

Estate agents are bolstering their staff security policies in the wake of the Graham Dwyer murder trial.

Two well-known estate agents are trialling a “lone worker” smartphone security app which allows workers who are showing houses alone in remote locations to raise the alarm if they feel they are in danger.

The murder trial had heard how Dwyer had been planning to rape and stab a “pretty young auctioneer” in a vacant property in Cabinteely, Dublin. Dwyer had planned to pose as a potential buyer.

A spokeswoman for Sherry FitzGerald told the Irish Times that the recent case has heightened awareness about staff vulnerability.

A spokeswoman at Savills described such smartphone app as reactive tools for bad situations.

“The emphasis should really be on positive proactive behaviour, where agents take the necessary precautions before getting to such a point, like always having their phone fully charged, staying close to exits, and watching out for telltale behaviour,” she said.

The app responds to shaking or tapping sequences which activate a call to a 24-hour monitoring service.

This either triggers a call back where the agent may then use a “safe” or “duress” word, or immediately activates a callout by sending location co-ordinates, audio and video footage directly to the authorities.

Estate agents often already use measures such as carrying a panic alarm, checking out potential buyers before accepting appointments, and keeping a log of all appointments including locations, times and phone numbers.

Read More: Dwyer had a list of victims whom he planned to stab and torture

Estate agents introduced security measures after UK estate agent Suzy Lamplugh (25) disappeared during the course of her work while showing a client around a house. She was never found.

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