Sunday 21 January 2018

The grooming: 'I'll give you a child if you want'

Graham Dwyer (centre) was convicted of the murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara
Graham Dwyer (centre) was convicted of the murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara

Graham Dwyer had had a twisted, highly damaging relationship with Elaine O'Hara after they had met online. Some years later, on purchasing a new mobile phone under the name Goroon Chisholm, he set about inveigling himself into her life once more. The messages told a story that was so grotesque and macabre that even hardbitten detectives were ­horrified by their content. The texts were a dialogue between a master - the man on the Goroon phone - and his slave, Elaine O'Hara. They included graphic ­exchanges about punishment, rape, stabbing, bloodletting, pain, abduction, suicide and murder. Above all, Elaine's mysterious master continuously expressed his wish to stab her to death. Significantly, Elaine had last backed up her phone to the laptop on May 15, 2012, not long after her final meeting with [her friend] Edna [Lillis, whom she had confided to about meeting a man on the internet]. Consciously or otherwise, she had left a trail to her killer.


Now that he had her in his grasp again, the master did not hold back. Between March 2011 and July 2012 he ­bombarded her with terse commands and threats in words that left nothing to the imagination… He blamed her for awakening the murderous desires that consumed him.

GOROON: "It's your fault I want to kill and you won't let me stab you."

Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara

ELAINE: "I never thought me wanting to die would lead to this."

Like a cat playing with a mouse, he toyed with her in the hope that he would bewilder and exhaust her. One text read: "Hope you are feeling better today. Have thought a lot about your situation, and can adjust my kind offer to hang u in your apartment so u would be found and buried properly, etc? Less covering up to do for me as well. I could take cuffs off after. I would prefer the other way, of course, but just something to think about."

On several occasions Elaine tried to fight back against his demands, ­accusing him of merely using her and being selfish. She complained that he didn't give her what she wanted, which was to be tied up in cuffs and chains. When she said she wanted to find real love in her life, Goroon taunted her that she would never get anyone because she was "old and fat, a smoker, disobedient and needy". When she complained that she could never find a proper partner because of the stab wounds and the bruising from being punched, he would unleash another cascade of abuse about her appearance.

Exploiting Elaine's wish to be a mother was key to his approach. He kept reeling her in with the promise of a baby. In August 2011, it appeared that they had agreed to go their separate ways.

Graham Dwyer
Graham Dwyer
Elaine's father Frank O' Hara at court with his partner Sheila Hawkins (left) and daughter Ann Charles for the trial

GOROON: "Sorry to lose you but will take you up on offers of play and murder. Did you say I could kill u as long as I didn't say it was coming?"

ELAINE: "I don't think I said that, sir. I will miss you, sir."

She added that if she was ever going to find anyone to give her kids, she needed to be "free of stabs".

ELAINE: "Unless you want to give me a child, sir?"

When he didn't reply, she texted again 15 minutes later:

ELAINE: "Didn't think so"

GOROON: "I would, but I won't be around to raise or support it."

She told the master that she really wanted a child, despite him "giving out all the time about the one in Donegal" [a reference to the mother of his grown-up son] and that, for her, the man was just a means to an end.

GOROON: "I'll give you a child if you want, but they can't ever know who I am."

They discussed when she might get pregnant and how she'd fit a baby in with work and college. He instructed her to start taking folic acid and stop smoking to prepare for a pregnancy. But the trade-off he demanded was extraordinary.

GOROON: "OK, a life for a life. Help me take one and I'll give you one."

ELAINE: "OK, you set it up."

The next day she texted again:

ELAINE: "Did you mean what you said yesterday, sir?"

GOROON: "Yes. It's your reward for helping me stab a girl to death."

Indo Review

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