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Friday 24 May 2019

Bondage cuffs and mask, sex toys, knives and gun barrel found under water

Witness Garda James O'Donoghue leaving Central Criminal Court after he gave evidence in the trial of Graham Dwyer
Witness Garda James O'Donoghue leaving Central Criminal Court after he gave evidence in the trial of Graham Dwyer

ANGLERS fished bondage cuffs, leg restraints, a "ball gag" and blindfold out of a reservoir three days before Elaine O'Hara's remains were found in the Dublin Mountains, the trial of Graham Dwyer has heard.

One of the fishermen brought the items to a garda who returned three times before finding a black leather mask, knives, and a set of keys with loyalty cards that were traced back to Ms O'Hara.

Crime scene examiners then found sex toys, the sawn-off barrel of a double-barrelled shotgun, more handcuffs and a mobile phone before garda divers recovered items including another mobile phone and SIM card.

Details of the search of Vartry Reservoir in Roundwood, Co Wicklow were set out for the jury on the sixth day of the trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Dwyer (42), an architect of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, is pleading not guilty to the murder of Ms O'Hara (36) at Killakee, Rathfarnham on August 22, 2012.

Ms O'Hara, a childcare assistant from Killiney, was last seen alive near Shanganagh cemetery in Shankill.

Disappeared

Her remains were found by a dog walker in undergrowth in the Dublin mountains on September 13, 2013, more than a year after she disappeared.

Angler William Fegan told the jury he noticed something shiny in the water while standing on a bridge on September 10, 2013.

He was there with his brother James and a friend, Mark Quinn. The level of water in the lake was lower than usual.

"What first drew our attention was a shiny metal object," he said. There was some yellow rope which seemed to be buoyant on top of the water.

"I passed a comment to Mark: 'I wonder what's down there?'," he told the jury.

Mr Quinn had a tension strap as he worked with granite. He lowered it down into the water, managing to hook onto the rope.

They fished out handcuffs and leg restraints as well as a grey vest, a blue hoodie and what Mr Fegan thought was a mouth restraint or a gag and a blindfold. They took all the items out of the water and left them on a wall.

"I went back the following morning," he said. "I had a good think about what I found. It was niggling on me." He put them in a bag and brought them to Roundwood Garda Station.

He told the court that the water was usually 20 foot deep but had dropped to as little as 12 to 18 inches that day. "It was very unusual," he continued. "It was a very hot summer."

His friend Mark Quinn said the first thing he pulled out was a white vest, then he snagged the yellow rope, chains and handcuff, ball gag, bondage restraints and hoodie.

Garda James O'Donoghue of Roundwood Station said he was on duty on September 11 when William Fegan came in with the bag of items.

The following day, he went to the area identified, looked into the water but saw nothing due to low visibility.

He returned twice, on September 14 and again on September 16. This time, he saw the end of a handcuff and climbed down the embankment.

With his arm stretched out in the court, he showed show he searched by touch underwater as visibility was zero due to mud.

Keys

"I felt something perhaps an inch or two under the mud. I identified these as a set of keys." He then fished out a leather bondage mask, a black-handled kitchen knife and a rusty chain with a bull ring.

When a Dunnes' Stores loyalty card was identified as Ms O'Hara's and he discovered she was a missing person, he contacted his superiors and the crime scene was sealed off.

Garda Wayne Farrell, crime scene examiner, went there on September 17 and retrieved a mobile phone, then a set of handcuffs, followed by another set of handcuffs attached together with a chain before the water unit assisted.

He took out one of two black-handled knives, a white vibrator and a black "anal plug".

Garda Farrell said searches further under the bridge also recovered a pair of shorts and a dressing gown, both with the Real Madrid crest.

A red and black rucksack was also retrieved, along with a gun barrel and a large camera lens.

Garda Lorcan Byrne of the Garda Water Unit told the court that on October 7 a detailed search was carried out by a dive team.

Garda Byrne found a black Nokia mobile phone back cover, two mobile phone batteries, two more black anal plugs, one larger and one smaller; two batteries and a red kidney-shaped object believed to be a remote control. Also found was a black single-opening balaclava, like a ski-mask.

Cross-examined by defence counsel Remy Farrell, he agreed that other items were removed from the water, "as diverse as" a mattress, a desktop computer, and a Dire Straits CD.

Gda Enda Broderick said on October 7 he used an underwater metal detector and recovered a Nokia mobile phone and Sim card, a pair of glasses, sun glasses, gold bracelet, a second Sim card and a metal band.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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