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Elaine taken to mountains to be stabbed for Dwyer's 'sexual pleasure', murder trial told


Graham Dwyer

Graham Dwyer

Elaine O'Hara

Elaine O'Hara


Architect Graham Dwyer took a childminder to the Dublin Mountains to stab her for his sexual gratification, a court was told today.

Dwyer, a father-of-two of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Elaine O’Hara at Killakee, Rathfarnham on August 22, 2012. Her remains were found on September 13, 2013, more than a year after she disappeared.

At the opening of his murder trial in Dublin’s Central Criminal Court, Sean Guerin SC said evidence to be put forward by the prosecution would prove the pair had a sexual relationship and had been in contact for more than a year by text messages before Ms O’Hara’s disappearance.

He said these would show that an essential part of that sexual relationship was acts of stabbing committed by Mr Dwyer on Ms O’Hara.


“That was a feature of the sex relationship between them and it reflected a deep-seated and passionately-held irrepressible desire on the part of Graham Dwyer to get sexual gratification by stabbing her,” Mr Guerin told the jury.

“And to prove, through contact on phones, that Graham Dwyer arranged on days leading up to the murder in 2012, to meet Elaine O’Hara at Shanganagh cemetery to do that, to take her to the mountains where she was found for the purpose of killing her to fulfil the satisfaction of that desire.”

The court also heard no cause of death could be determined for Ms O’Hara as her body was so badly decomposed.

Mr Guerin told the court that Ms O’Hara had suffered psychiatric issues for some years, and was treated by her own doctor and as an in-patient and out-patient at St Edmundsbury Hospital, including the five to six weeks prior to her disappearance.

She had only been released from the hospital at noon on the day she disappeared, he added 

Earlier, the court was told that a professional dog trainer came across 65pc of the skeletal remains of Ms O’Hara after one of the woman’s dogs found bones in a wooded area of the foothills of the Dublin mountains. By coincidence, three days earlier, a group of fishermen had discovered Ms O’Hara’s keys and supermarket loyalty cards in a reservoir, along with handcuffs and rope.

In his opening speech, Mr Guerin told the jury three men were fishing at a reservoir in Roundwood, Co Wicklow, on September 10, 2013, when their attention was drawn to something “shiny” they saw in the water while the level was lower than usual.

They used a ratchet strap on a hook to raise the articles out of the water, and “unusually” what they found were articles of clothing, a length of rope and some handcuffs. They drew the items out of the water and left them but one, William Fagan, returned the next day because he felt something was wrong.

He put the items into a plastic bag and took them to Roundwood Garda Station.

A garda returned several times to see if there was anything else, and on September 16 he was able to reach into the water and pull out a set of ordinary domestic keys, including a number of shop loyalty cards.

The garda contacted Dunnes Stores, who were able to provide Ms O’Hara’s name and address. On entering the details into the Pulse system, the garda discovered that she was a missing person, and had been since August 2012.

In a “remarkable coincidence”, three days after Mr Fagan and his friends lifted the items out of the water, a professional dog trainer and walker was out with a number of dogs at Killakee, Rathfarnham, when she came across Ms O’Hara’s remains.

She had finished walking the dogs when her own dog went into a wooded area. She followed it and found bones. She was concerned about what had been found and contacted the landowner.


Realising they might be human remains, they called the gardai. On examination, the remains were found to be almost entirely skeletal. They were taken to the city morgue and found to be about 65pc of the remains of Ms O’Hara, Mr Guerin said.

The accused, dressed in a navy suit, white shirt and red tie sat silently in the court as the case against him was outlined to the jury. The trial, before Mr Justice Hunt and a jury of seven men and five women, is expected to take between six and eight weeks. The accused, originally from Co Cork, worked for a firm of architects in Dublin. Ms O’Hara disappeared on August 22, 2012 after leaving her home in Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside.