Elaine told friend she met man who 'liked to cut her', court hears

By Sarah Stack and Andrew Phelan

ELAINE O'Hara told a friend she was having a relationship with an architect she met online who liked to cut her, the Graham Dwyer murder trial heard.

Edna Lillis said she warned Ms O'Hara that she was playing a "dangerous game" after she told her this about a year before she disappeared.

The jury at the Central Criminal Court also heard Ms O'Hara told a nurse at St Edmundsbury Hospital in Lucan the day before she disappeared that she had met a man with an interest in bondage who was "constantly coming to her apartment".

Mr Dwyer (42) of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, is pleading not guilty to the murder of Ms O'Hara (36) at Killakee, Rathfarnham on August 22, 2012.


Ms O'Hara, a childcare assistant from Killiney, was last seen alive near Shanganagh Cemetery in Shankill that day.

Her remains were found by a dog walker in undergrowth in the Dublin Mountains on September 13, 2013.

The prosecution maintains Mr Dwyer killed her for his own sexual gratification.

Ms Lillis said she first met Ms O'Hara in 2007.

On their last meeting in either late 2011 or early 2012, Ms O'Hara showed her fresh cuts across her stomach, which he believed were three to four inches long.

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"They wouldn't have been that deep. They were just very obvious," she said.

"She explained to me how she got them before she showed them to me.

"She said she met someone on the internet and he liked to cut her and she was having some sort of relationship with him whereby he'd cut her.

"I told her she was playing a dangerous game... Elaine just wanted to be loved. She just wanted some attention," she said, adding that she warned her friend to keep notes of the man's name and address somewhere in case anything happened.

"I knew he was an architect. For some reason I had the name Peter in my head," she said to defence barrister Ronan Kennedy under cross-examination.

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Ms O'Hara "enjoyed being hurt physically", she told the court, and wasn't afraid of the man but was wary of him as "she knew maybe there were repercussions".

She told the court Ms O'Hara never got over the death of her mother and resented how her father had moved on and was in a new relationship.

A now-retired nurse, Rosetta Callan said she chatted with Ms O'Hara the evening before she was discharged from St Edmundsbury Hospital.

"She started telling me about this person she had met," she told Sean Guerin SC, prosecuting.

She didn't name him, Ms Callan said, but they had a shared interest "in bondage".

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"She said he had a key to her apartment. She said he was constantly coming to her apartment."

She agreed with Mr Guerin, who was reading from her statement, that she asked Ms O'Hara why she wouldn't go to the gardai if she was being harassed.

"She said she wouldn't go because he had young children," she added.

"She said he had young kids and she loved kids so she wouldn't want to harm them by going to the guards."

Maria Hynes, who was at St Edmundsbury in August 2012, said Ms O'Hara was "always very, very chatty and always seemed to be in good form when I saw her".

The night before Ms O'Hara's discharge the pair had "quite a quiet conversation" in the smoking room, Ms Hynes said.

Ms O'Hara asked Ms Hynes how she could commit suicide - a subject described in court as an "unwritten rule" in the hospital.

"It's not something you talk to patients about, not something discussed," she said.

"I told her to mind her own business... she did continue to tell me how she would commit suicide. She said she would do it with a rope that she had at home."

The court also heard evidence from two more men who had contact with Ms O'Hara through websites, but they never met her in person and did not know her.

The two - Kevin Mullins and Cathal O'Brien - were both contacted by gardai in the investigation when their numbers were found on Ms O'Hara's phone.

Mr Mullins had been a member of "alternative" lifestyle site alt.com, while Mr O'Brien had registered with dating site match.com This was the only explanation they had for their numbers being in her phone.

Previoulsy, the jury had heard from six other men who had been in contact with Ms O'Hara. The trial continues.