Dwyer like a ‘predator’ separated Elaine from the flock – prosecutor
GRAHAM Dwyer was like a “predator” who saw in Elaine O’Hara’s weakness an opportunity to “separate her from the flock”, the jury in his murder trial has been told.
Prosecutor Sean Guerin SC said in his closing speech that the only thing the accused ever saw in Ms O’Hara was a victim. He said Mr Dwyer had offered to kill Ms O’Hara and had been using her mental health problems as an opportunity to “achieve what he really wanted”.
Mr Guerin spoke of Mr Dwyer pushing Ms O’Hara “towards the edge”. He said Elaine O’Hara had been in an abusive and manipulative relationship with Mr Dwyer which enabled him to isolate and exploit her.
Mr Dwyer (42), an architect of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, is pleading not guilty to the murder of Ms O’Hara (36), a childcare assistant, at Killakee, Rathfarnham on August 22, 2012.
Her remains were found by a dog walker in undergrowth in the Dublin mountains on September 13, 2013.
The prosecution maintains he killed her to satisfy his own sexual urge to stab a woman to death.
Mr Guerin told the jury Mr Dwyer had known it might be seen as suicide.
“That very nearly worked out for him,” Mr Guerin added.
There would be four strands to the prosecution’s case. The first was connecting Graham Dwyer to Ms O’Hara’s disappearance.
The second was showing he had the desire and sexual fantasy and also the intention of murdering her, and that was a firm and definite intention.
The third was demonstrating the circumstances of her disappearance, including the detailed plan he had elaborated, and the fourth was to disprove any other possibilities, such as suicide or that someone else was involved.
He reminded the jury that Mr Dwyer was and is entitled to a presumption of innocence.
Mr Guerin detailed how the prosecution maintains the accused was the person using a pre-paid mobile phone, known as the ‘Goroon’ phone to contact Ms O’Hara. He also set out the connections that he said showed the so-called ‘Master’ and ‘Slave’ phones found in Vartry reservoir had been used by Mr Dwyer and Ms OHara.
Mr Guerin said the ‘Goroon’ phone number was saved in Ms O’Hara’s computer and address book as Graham.
One of the first messages from it was sent to Ms O’Hara’s iPhone and signed off ‘David’, which Mr Guerin said was an alias.
When the phone was purchased in March 2012, the person buying it gave the name ‘Goroon Caisholm’ – similar to the name of a friend of Mr Dwyer, Gordon Chisholm. The address given was similar to Mr Dwyer’s sister’s.
The text messages exchanged held up “a mirror” to Mr Dwyer’s life, Mr Guerin said.
A text from Ms O’Hara asked the other person “whether he became a daddy again”, Mr Guerin said. A replying text contained the child’s name and the date was the same as that on Mr Dwyer’s daughter’s birth certificate.
Several texts which Mr Geurin argued corresponded with Mr Dwyer’s movements were read out, including a committee meeting of Shankill model flying club, holidays marked in his work records, and a weekend during which his family were away and he had a get together with friends.
On June 13, 2011, when asked about a weekend, the user of the “Goroon” phone said: “Terrible, 15pc pay cut and came fifth in flying.”
An article in a flying club magazine placed him fifth in a competition that weekend. A letter from Mr Dwyer’s employers at that time referred to a cut in his salary.
On June 29, Ms O’Hara texted: “Sorry sir, I forgot the Polish Ambassador,” and “sure enough”, Mr Guerin said, there was evidence that Mr Dwyer was at an event at the Polish embassy that day.
In the records of thousands of texts over a lengthy period, there was “nothing that is inconsistent with the suggestion that the person who had Mr Dwyer’s work phone was the person who had the other two phones”, Mr Guerin said.
Mr Guerin showed alleged similarities between Mr Dwyer’s workphone and the Master phone detailing how they pinged off cells in Howth, Dublin’s north inner city, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal and other locations.
“Wherever he goes the phones go, they’re stuck to him like a shadow. I suggest to you that these phones could only be Graham Dwyer’s phones and I’m going to proceed on that basis,” he added.
Mr Guerin spoke about the difference between fantasy and reality.
“What this case is about is this person who has extraordinary and quite frankly disgusting fantasies and goes about making them real,” he said.
Mr Guerin said in order to make his fantasy a reality Mr Dwyer had to find victims, people who would willingly – if not reluctantly submit to what he had in mind.
“These are real people,” he said, asking the jury to remember that at least three real people featured in the fantasies in his “disgusting mind – “Darci Day, Elaine O’Hara herself and an estate agent”.
The prosecution then moved on to Mr Dwyer’s relationship with Ms O’Hara.
“You know that he said he’s a sadist who enjoys other people’s pain,” he said, reading a text message about wanting “to stick my knife in flesh when sexually aroused”.
He told the jury that had a good deal of evidence about difficulties in Ms O’Hara’s life, including an admission statement from St Edmundsbury mental health hospital in July 2012, when she was noted as having no friends.
“That’s a tragic sad and unfortunate situation that ... Graham Dwyer was only too happy to take advantage of,” Mr Guerin said.
He said information retrieved from a laptop showed Ms O’Hara had viewed the profile ‘architect77’ on the website Alt.com in October and November 2007.
“That appears, from evidence you have, the likely beginning of a relationship that ended on the side of Killakee mountain on August 22, 2012,” Mr Guerin alleged.
“She was a very sad person, she was undoubtedly a very troubled person.”
Mr Guerin read an email on Ms O’Hara’s old laptop from firstname.lastname@example.org – which he said was an email address linked to the architecht72 profile – on Sept 19, 2008.
“Hi there, I hope you’re keeping ok. I have assumed you’re trying to get better and try to stay away from what we do together. I completely understand that,” he read.
Mr Guerin claimed that was from Mr Dwyer and spoke of “This wickedness hiding behind a mask of pity, offering a troubled and sometimes suicidal woman help in the form of a way out”.
Mr Guerin said Ms O’Hara was seen in video clips, dated 2008 that showed “a vicious and brutal act of violence perpetrated on Elaine O’Hara by Graham Dwyer”, adding: “He was able to overcome her unwillingness.”
Later in 2011, Mr Guerin observed in the texts, Ms O’Hara “is saying, I am doing well, I don’t want to go back to stabbing”.
When he told her “OK, we will have to find me a victim to stab, that is an order,” Mr Guerin said this was in the context of Ms O’Hara being submissive and following orders.
Mr Guerin said Mr Dwyer then blamed Ms O’Hara, saying: “It’s your fault I want to kill.”
He said that in May 2011, Ms O’Hara said she had not been successful trying to cope and was down. “This is a person who is very unwell, who is in need of help and has been damaged by the talk and the threat and the promise of stabbing,” Mr Guerin said, adding that Mr Dwyer’s response was to again offer “a painless end to it all”.
In July 2011, she said: “I don’t want to die with stab wounds,” Mr Guerin said, and she texted about dreaming of “going to sleep and never waking up”.
In August, she told him if she was ever going to find someone and have kids she had to be free of stabs.
The response from Mr Dwyer was to offer to give her a baby, Mr Guerin said, and he “upped the ante – improved the offer so to speak”, but Ms O’Hara eventually refused.
In July 2012, after a long period of coping better, she was admitted to hospital, Mr Guerin continued.
“It was a low point and how does Graham Dwyer react while Elaine O’Hara was at this low point?” He said Mr Dwyer asked if she had “any dark thoughts?” and wanted to know if she was suicidal.
“The relationship is an entirely predatory one and like any predator, Graham Dwyer had an eye for the weak.
“ Elaine O’Hara was weak, he could see in her loneliness, her friendlessness, her isolation and her weakness the opportunity to separate her from the flock, to get her on her own and undermine her self-worth….The only thing he ever saw in her was to be a victim of stabbing.”