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Chains found in Elaine's locker, court told

Two metal chains were found in a bedside locker in Elaine O’Hara’s apartment after she disappeared.

A retired detective told the Central Criminal Court today that a PVC suit and rope were also found in her apartment.

Retired Detective Garda Ultan Sherlock was giving evidence at the trial of Graham  Dwyer (42), an architect of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, who is pleading not guilty to the murder of Ms O’Hara (36) at Killakee, Rathfarnham on August 22, 2012.

Garda family liaison officer John Paul Durkan told the court he stayed in regular contact with the O’Hara family over the year, until September 2013 when he told them officers would need to carry out a forensic examination of her apartment.

“I got the relevant details from Frank (O’Hara, Elaine’s father) regarding who had the keys. I learnt it was the EBS.

“I contacted them and I phoned and emailed and I secured the keys and permission to enter the Belarmine Plaza for the purpose to be forensically searched,” he said.

Gda Durkan said he reported any developments to the family, tracing and following up text messaging on her iPhone, and that they raised no concerns over the garda probe.

He said the family wanted to find the truth about what happened to Ms O’Hara.

“They were also very worried and concerned about information that came to hand initially,” he said.

“However, there was a time that the family accepted that she probably took her own life.”

Retired Detective Garda Sherlock said he was handed Ms O’Hara’s laptop by her sister on the day she was reported missing.

He said he also carried out a “cursory search” of her apartment with family members that night, which he described as a quick search that might give any more information.

Two heavy metal chains were discovered in her bedside locker, he said.

“We observed in the living room there was a black PVC body suit,” the retired officer continued. “There was a rope in the living room as well.

“I was shown by Elaine’s brother John images he had on his phones from a website address written in a diary.

 He added that he this was a s&m website. Earlier, the court heard that gardai investigating the disappearance and death of the childcare worker were provided with 219 days of CCTV evidence from the apartment complex where she lived.

The CCTV system installer, Padraig Finnerty, told the jury that he believed that the machine was operating correctly during that time.

He was being cross-examined by the defence today, the fourth day of the trial of Mr Dwyer, who denies the murder of Ms O’Hara, a childcare assistant.

Ms O’Hara, from Killiney, was last seen alive near Shanganagh Cemetery in Shankill.

Her remains were found by a dog walker in undergrowth in the Dublin mountains on September 13, 2013, more than a year after she disappeared.

Mr Finnerty told Ronan Kennedy BL, for the defence, that 219 days of footage, between January 18, 2012 and August 25 that year, from the CCTV system at Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside, were given to the gardai. He said he made a point of never watching footage given to the gardai. Asked about “issues” with playing back the footage on a different system, he said a Windows machine would not display the date and time.

missing

Family liaison officer Garda John Paul Durkan told the court he had been appointed when Ms O’Hara was reported missing.

He was given items by her brother, John O’Hara, at her home on August 28, 2012.

These were a driving licence, assorted receipts, a postal receipt and an inhaler.

Items he was given by her father Frank O’Hara on August 30 were: a purse and assorted cards, a photo of Ms O’Hara, a bunch of keys, a lighter, a green address and phone book.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of seven men and five women.

Yesterday, the court was told a latex body suit, images of two hunting knives and the name of a fetish lifestyle website were found in Ms O’Hara’s apartment after her disappearance.

Her brother John O’Hara said he created a user profile on the website www.fetlife.com to see if he could find any information about his eldest sister after she went missing. He said he found what he believed to be his sister’s user profile on the website.

The pictures of knives had been printed from a hunting website. Ms O’Hara’s father’s partner, Sheila Hawkins, said that during the search of the apartment, she found a black latex outfit “consistent with S&M.”

Both Ms Hawkins and Ms O’Hara’s sister Ann Charles gave evidence that Ms O’Hara had told them in 2011 that she had suffered a miscarriage that year.

hnews@herald.ie


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