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Graham Dwyer Trial: Elaine O'Hara felt she 'wasn't born for life', that nobody liked her and she was a bad person, doctor noted in medical records

ELAINE O’Hara felt she “wasn’t born for life,” that nobody liked her and she was a bad person, doctors noted in her medical records from a psychiatric hospital years before she died.

She was admitted 14 times over the years and on one occasion, she described having a “play in her head in which she was being persecuted.”

The records, read out to the jury by Remy Farrell SC, for the defence, described Ms O’Hara as having a “very lonely life with no friends” in 2005.

Mr Farrell read from a series of records from a psychiatric hospital that Ms O’Hara had attended over the years. He asked Elaine O'Hara's GP Dr Corcoran to comment on some of the entries.

He was giving evidence in the trial of Graham​ Dwyer at the Central Criminal Court this morning.

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


Graham Dwyer

Graham Dwyer

Elaine O'Hara

Elaine O'Hara


Graham Dwyer

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 the accused killed Ms O'Hara for his own sexual gratification.​

The jury heard she had first presented to psychiatric services at the age of 16 but her problems began much earlier. Dr Corcoran agreed with Mr Farrell that there was a “substantial” number of admissions - 14 in all.

Some of them related to episodes of self harm although there were other features such as depression and anxiety.

The records included summaries of admissions to and discharges from hospital.

The first noted that she had been admitted on February 29, 2000 and discharged on May 19, 2000, that year.

In the reason for admission, the record stated that Ms O’Hara was 24 years old, was “sad and angry” and had low self esteem and appetite. It referred to self-harm and noted she was finding it “difficult to control her impulses.”

Her final diagnosis on that occasion was: “Recurrent depressive disorder and strong possibility of emotionally unstable personality disorder.”

The second hospital discharge summary related to May 14, 2003 to July 12 that year - a two month period.

The court heard her mother had died in March 2002.

The summary noted that Ms O’Hara had been feeling “low for some time,” was expressing suicidal ideation and “finding it difficult to think straight.”

According to the record, Ms O’Hara had been cutting herself superficially do inflict pain but without intending suicide.

She had described tying herself up in role play and there were also references to “self-hate.” Mr Farrell pointed out that these were “snapshots of a particular position in time.”

A third period between April 22, 2005 and June 10 that year, Ms O’Hara was readmitted at the age of 29. She had said: “I am not well, I’m going insane, I’m becoming angry with small things.”

She had said there was no obvious reason for self-harm, Mr Farrell said.

“I have had this all my life, it is just coming to the surface now,” Mr Farrell read from the summary. “I wish they would let me die.”

The records referred to thoughts of deliberate self harm and fleeting suicidal thoughts and “possible death wish.”

Ms O’Hara had said: “I wasn’t born for life, no-one likes me, I am a bad person.” Social withdrawal was also noted, indicating a lack of social contact with others.

On an admission between July 21, 2005 and August 8 that year, the reason given was: “She believes people are watching her and talking about her and is preoccupied with some intrusive thoughts which she describes as a play in her head, in which she is being persecuted. She became agitated when asked to expand on this.”

At that time, her current social circumstances noted that she was working in a shop, living alone in a rented flat and smoking 40 cigarettes a day.

“She lives a very lonely life with no friends and finds it very difficult to trust people,” Mr Farrell read from the record.

Dr Corcoran said with Ms O’Hara, he always felt she was anxious to get back to work.

Mr Farrell also asked Dr Corcoran if he had been aware of an incident in which Ms O’Hara “had contacted the Samaritans and indicated that she had made a noose.”

“I wasn’t aware of that,” he said.

Dr Matthew Corcoran told the court he had been the GP for the O’Hara family since the early 1980s.

He said the primary reason he saw Ms O’Hara was for asthma, for which she had an inhaler, but she was also being treated for mild diabetes and cholesterol, which were kept under control with medication.

The court heard she visited the doctor regularly, sometimes two or three times a month, and then maybe not for two or three months.

However she visited more frequently in May and June 2012 for a vitamin injection, after a general blood test showed she was low in vitamin B12.

The doctor said he was not aware of Ms O’Hara ever being pregnant and would enquire about her mental health and would get discharge letters from psychiatric hospital and specialists.

“I would have thought overall that Elaine was doing better than previous times, her medical status was better and overall she was doing reasonable well,” he told Mr Guerin.

He last seen her on July 20th when she complained off sinusitis, cough and a slight respiratory symptom, which he described a s a slight wheeze – and prescribed a short course of antibiotics and oral steroids.