Belfast Telegraph

Victim 'was seeing married man'

A childcare worker allegedly murdered by a successful architect told her father she was in a relationship with a married professional man who tied her up during sex games, a trial has heard.

Frank O'Hara, father of Elaine O'Hara, 37, whose remains were found in the foothills of the Dublin mountains, said he was shocked when she made the outburst during a row.

The pair had been arguing at his home in Killiney, south Dublin, in 2008, when she said that she was seeing a professional man who was married.

Ms O'Hara said the man would tie her up and carry out a sex act over her but they hadn't had sex, Mr O'Hara told Dublin's Central Criminal Court.

"She said he was an architect in Foxrock. I was shocked."

Graham Dwyer, 42, with an address at Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, south Dublin, denies murdering Ms O'Hara at Killakee, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin on August 22, 2012.

Mr O'Hara said he didn't pursue the revelation at the time.

"She told me it was over at one stage. We never discussed it again," he told the court.

Mr O'Hara said his daughter, who was battling psychiatric illness since her teens, would often try to say something shocking when she was in row or was anxious.

Under cross-examination from defence barrister Remy Farrell, Mr O'Hara agreed he made a statement to the Garda investigation in to her disappearance, that he remembered her also saying that "she had asked him to kill her but he wouldn't".

There was no mention of the man before or after that, he said.

Giving evidence in Dwyer's trial, Mr O'Hara said his daughter also confided in him that she had a play in her head, but that she never disclosed what it was about.

"I suspected it was unsavoury," he said. "She was always worried about this play, it upset her."

Mr O'Hara said he suggested she write it down and show it to her psychiatrist, but he did not think she ever did.

On the last day he saw her alive, the day of her alleged murder, she had just been discharged from St Edmundsbury Hospital where she had been admitted for her illness about five a half weeks beforehand.

She had indicated to him around early July that she wanted to go back into hospital, he told the court.

When he said he thought she was doing well, she replied that he didn't know what she had tried to do.

"She mentioned a noose around her bookcase in the apartment," he said.

Ms O'Hara had a history of self-harm, the jury of seven men and five women was told.

The oldest child in the family, she had been bullied at school and began to retreat into herself after her friend was killed in a road accident, her father said.

After cutting her wrists at the age of 16 or 17, she was sent to see the renowned psychiatrist Professor Anthony Clare.

She was under a lot of medication initially and never really experienced her late teenage years, said Mr O'Hara.

In one of three self-harm incidents, she ended up in coma for 24 hours after taking an overdose around 2006 or 2007, the court heard.

It was not until the years before her death that she was being slowly weaned off medication and was using more modern, "proactive" psychology to get better.

"I thought she was doing pretty good," Mr O'Hara said.

The court was told that hours before her disappearance Ms O'Hara travelled with her father to her mother's grave at Shanganagh cemetery, outside Shankill, south Dublin, where they placed plants bought at a DIY store at the headstone.

"She kissed the gravestone, and appeared to be upset," her father said.

When he hadn't heard from her for two days afterwards he reported her missing.

During a search, his other daughter Anne asked her husband to check the cemetery, where he found Ms O'Hara's car.

Questioned by the defence barrister, Mr O'Hara said it did occur to him at the time that she may have killed herself.

"It obviously crossed my mind," he said. "But I had an open mind at that stage. It was obviously a concern given her history."

Mr O'Hara said he had texted his daughter sarcastically the night after her alleged murder as he had not heard from her, inquiring: "Are you alive?"

The trial is expected to last up to eight weeks.


From Belfast Telegraph