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Graham Dwyer jailed for life for murder of Elaine O'Hara

Published 20/04/2015

Graham Dwyer in handcuffs
Graham Dwyer in handcuffs
Dwyer's murder victim Elaine O’Hara

Architect Graham Dwyer has been jailed for life for the brutal sadistic murder of childcare assistant Elaine O’Hara.

The 42-year-old architect – who was convicted three and a half weeks ago - will initially be remanded in Dublin’s Mountjoy prison for stabbing the 36-year-old to death in the Dublin mountains.

Trial judge Tony Hunt handed down the mandatory sentence - and said it was richly deserved.

In a victim impact statement, Elaine's family said that they have many unanswered questions "that we will have to carry with us for the rest of our lives".

"When did Elaine realise it was not a game anymore?," the family asked.

"When did she realise that the intention was to kill her for real?

"Did she try to run away?

"Was she retrained?

"Did she suffer much?

"Could she and did she cry out?

Dwyer is suing the State for the manner in which gardai accessed his telephone records, and is making plans to appeal his conviction.

The Cork-born father-of-three, denied murdering Ms O’Hara and claimed she was suicidal and was seeing other men when she disappeared on August 22, 2012.

But after one of the most complex and thorough Garda investigations in the history of the State, a series of coincidences, and a 10-week trial that gripped the nation, the self-confessed sadist was kept behind bars.

The jury of seven men and five women had returned an unanimous guilty verdict after seven hours and 33 minutes of deliberations.

Judge Hunt took the unusual step of telling them he agreed with their verdict 110pc.

“I wholeheartedly think you came to the right conclusion,” he said.

Ms O’Hara’s missing person’s investigation was upgraded to a murder probe when her skeletal remains were recovered by a dog walker in Killakee forest in the Dublin mountains on September 13, 2013.

That night Dwyer and his architect wife Gemma, who lived in Foxrock with their two young children, were both out celebrating their birthdays in a city centre restaurant.

He was unaware that that same week water levels in Vartry Reservoir in Roundwood, Co Wicklow plunged to record lows and a keen angler spotted something shiny in the shallow muddy waters.

Within days Ms O’Hara’s keys, clothing, glasses, two mobile phones, and her rucksack carrying a variety of sex toys - including ropes, cuffs, a gimp mask and restraints - were found.

Despite the water damage, experts retrieved more than 200 harrowing text messages between a 'Master' and his 'Slave' which lay bare Ms O’Hara’s fear and terror the week she vanished, including the hours before her death.

Detectives examined hours of CCTV from Ms O’Hara’s apartment block, Belarmine Plaza in Stepaside, and spotted Dwyer carrying the same rucksack out of the complex a week before she disappeared – when she was in St Edmunds bury Hospital in Lucan.

What appeared to be a near perfect life was wiped away after Dwyer committed what was almost ‘the perfect murder’.

Experts later retrieved thousands of disturbing text messages - backed-up on Ms O’Hara’s laptop – which revealed she was having a BDSM relationship with Dwyer since at least 2008.

They gave an insight in to the unwavering control and power her 'Sir' (Dwyer) had over his Slave (O’Hara) and the mental torment she suffered throughout their on/off BDSM sexual relationship, which involved Dwyer knifing her for his sexual pleasure.

In the texts Dwyer repeatedly referred to a sadistic and perverted fantasy he had to stab a woman to death, suggesting various potential victims including Ms O’Hara’s neighbours, attractive estate agents, and random hill walkers or joggers.

Computer experts also examined computers and storage devices belonging to the architect and recovered his lust for sick and disturbing voyeurism, which was documented in stories, images and videos he wrote, downloaded and made.

The usually crammed courtroom was cleared by Judge Tony Hunt as the jury was shown graphic “vicious and brutal acts of violence” of Dwyer filming himself stabbing women while having sex.

In the end it was his own Master phone, recovered from the reservoir, that crime analyst Sarah Skedd linked to Dwyer after she painstakingly trawled through data on mobile phone cell sites and toll booths as it and he travelled on journeys outside Dublin.

Ironically it was Ms O’Hara - a fan of TV crime dramas like CSI - who had warned Dwyer about the dangers of being caught for murder through DNA and phone mast coverage.

“Technology is a killer now Sir,” she had texted him, more than a year before she was murdered.

Source Irish Independent

Irish Independent

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