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'Elaine said things to shock,' workmates said

ELAINE O'Hara often said things "to shock" and work colleagues would take what she told them "with a pinch of salt", the Central Criminal Court heard.

Employees at Ken's Newsagents in Blackrock, where Ms O'Hara was working before she died, were giving evidence in the trial of Graham Dwyer (42), who denies her murder.

Emma Robertson, the daughter of the shop owner said in evidence that Ms O'Hara (36) had mentioned "a married man that she was involved with" to another employee, who told her to "be careful".

One evening at work, Ms O'Hara told her: "I think I might be pregnant." When Ms Robertson asked why she did not go into the chemist and get a test, Ms O'Hara had replied: "I wouldn't want the girls next door to know."

On another occasion, she said Ms O'Hara went to show her a picture on her mobile phone, but she saw something else that she could not describe in detail. "It was like handcuffs, and, I don't know, a whip, maybe something weird like that," she told the court.

Shop manager Jane Cahill said Ms O'Hara had been a trusted employee.

Ms Cahill said Ms O'Hara was "quite introverted" and did not discuss relationships.

PREGNANT

In cross-examination, Ronan Kennedy BL, for the defence, said another girl who worked in the shop made a statement to gardai in which she said Ms O'Hara spoke about "a married man she met online who was from the country".

Ms Cahill said she was not there when that was discussed.

Asked if Ms O'Hara discussed being pregnant, Ms Cahill said she had told her she "couldn't have children because of the medication she was on".

She was aware that Ms O'Hara had self-harmed because she saw scars on her arms and she would "talk openly" about it. She agreed that Ms O'Hara had been distressed about her apartment having been flooded and that it was "getting her down".

Asked if Ms O'Hara spoke about accessing internet sites for people who were interested in bondage, Ms Cahill said: "She mentioned it, but we thought she was joking about it. Some of the things she said, she said to shock.

"It was the impression that she wanted to shock," Ms Cahill said. "You took it with a pinch of salt, you didn't actually think it was true."

Soha Yazbeck, pharmacist at Belarmine Pharmacy, told the court Ms O'Hara came in with a prescription on August 22, 2012.

Just after lunch that day, she arrived with her hospital prescription which Ms Yazbeck filled for her. Ms O'Hara "seemed normal" on the day, Ms Yazbeck told the court.

hnews@herald.ie


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