Belfast Telegraph

Jury told gruesome account of sadistic and brutal pervert

By Ed Carty

The trial of the architect and apparent family man was a graphic depiction of bloodlust and unnerving perversion.

A huge swathe of evidence involved detail of BDSM sex and the lifestyle of a sexual deviant living out a slave-master philosophy and at times a deeply unsettling window into the life of a seemingly normal, middle-class 42-year-old.

Such was the shocking nature of some videos, photos and documents produced in the trial that the media self-censored on occasions and on three days the public were ordered to leave the court.

One of those was when a video of Graham Dwyer knifing Elaine O'Hara during sex was shown to the jury, another was a disturbing story of a woman being raped found on his computer and others revealed unidentified women being cut by him.

Images and links from a phone Dwyer owned included women being stabbed, strangled or killed, some of which came from a gore website.

On the face of it, the married man was living a normal life in a well-to-do part of south Dublin with his wife and kids, working in a successful city centre architects' practice and enjoying an innocent hobby of flying model planes.

Over several years he had developed a deviant sexual affair with the vulnerable Ms O'Hara after meeting her on a fetish link-up website.

Ms O'Hara (36) from Stepaside, Co Dublin, was killed in a mountain forest on August 22, 2012, hours after she had been discharged from hospital for psychiatric treatment.

Her troubled life was played out in court including her depression, borderline personality disorder, attempted suicides and her interest in a BDSM lifestyle and a slave-master relationship.

Dwyer, from Kerrymount Close in Foxrock, pleaded not guilty ahead of the eight-week trial and did not give evidence.

The prosecution case was summed up last week with the startling assertion that he was "a sadistic and brutal pervert with nothing on his mind other than murder".

One text allegedly from Dwyer stood out in the evidence: "I want to stick my knife in flesh while I am sexually aroused. Blood turns me on and I'd like to stab a girl to death some time."

State lawyers claimed he toyed with the idea of three potential victims including Darci Day, a previously suicidal woman from the US who met Dwyer on the internet, Ms O'Hara and an auctioneer who worked near Dwyer's former workplace.

Ms O'Hara's remains were found in a forest in mountains outside Dublin on September 13, 2013.

She had been reported missing 13 months earlier.

If not for a series of remarkable coincidences, her disappearance may have gone unsolved.

A professional dog trainer found Ms O'Hara's body when one of her animals disturbed remains in the woods.

Three days earlier, 20km from the discovery, anglers found a bag with handcuffs, clothes and a rope exposed because of near-drought conditions at the Vartry reservoir in Wicklow.

Gardai were alerted and officers later returned to the site to find keys and a supermarket loyalty card linked to Ms O'Hara, and other items including knives, bondage masks, handcuffs, leg restraints, phones and sex toys.

The lawyers branded Dwyer's manipulation of a vulnerable, lonely and previously suicidal woman as "wickedness hiding behind a mask of pity".

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