Monday 11 December 2017

Gardai search 1,600 hours of CCTV in search for Elaine's killer

Elaine O'Hara was last seen alive on August 22 last year.
Elaine O'Hara was last seen alive on August 22 last year.

Gardai investigating the murder of Elaine O'Hara are examining hundreds of hours of CCTV footage to see if she can be spotted in the company of her killer.

Officers are focusing on security cameras located in areas she was known to frequent in a bid to establish who she had been meeting in the hours and days prior to her death.

Investigators said last night that the footage was crucial to the outcome of their inquiries. They want to determine if she had previously been in the company of her killer.

Officers have gathered 1,600 hours of footage from cameras in the Belarmine Plaza complex in Stepaside, Dublin, where she lived as well as from around her workplaces as a childcare assistant and a newsagent employee in Blackrock.

Footage has also been taken from around Shanganagh cemetery in Shankill, south Co Dublin, where her turquoise Fiat Punto was found parked two days after her disappearance 13 months ago.

Gardai think Ms O'Hara could have met her killer on the internet, and are anxious to find out the identity of those she had been in contact with during August last year.

SKULL

They have appealed to anybody who had been in touch with her, either in person, by phone or through a website, to come forward to allow them to be eliminated from inquiries.

The O'Hara family yesterday issued a statement in which they said they were distraught at the death of their daughter and sister.

The family supported the garda appeal for help from the public but asked for privacy.

They said: "We understand the role of the media in providing accurate and helpful information as well as facilitating garda communication, but we ask that you respect our need for privacy and space to grieve."

Ms O'Hara's headless skeletal remains were uncovered by a dog in the Killakee area near Rathfarnham a week ago.

Handcuffs and restraints were also recovered some 20km away at the Vartry reservoir near Roundwood, Co Wicklow, after her key fob was found at the same spot.

Ms O'Hara disappeared on August 22 last year, leaving Belarmine Plaza at 5.05pm. She was wearing navy tracksuit bottoms, white runners and a bright-blue zip-up top.

A second sighting of her was reported at a footbridge over a railway at Shanganagh Park, Shankill, an hour and 10 minutes later. It is understood she had been using dating websites in the months leading up to her disappearance, and forensic experts poring over internet records will contact anyone she came in contact with.

Gardai hope data retrieved from a mobile phone found during searches at the reservoir will provide more clues.

Meanwhile, searches are continuing near the spot off the Killakee Road, outside Rathfarnham, where some of Ms O'Hara's remains were found in undergrowth last Friday.

Gardai are particularly anxious to recover her skull, which could help determine how she died.

Yesterday officers appealed to others who had knowledge of Ms O'Hara's movements in the days before she went missing to phone the confidential line on 1800 666111 or the incident room at Blackrock station on 01 6665200.

By Tom Brady Security Editor

Irish Independent

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