'Dwyer fantasised about killing Elaine and then coming after me', American woman tells court in Graham Dwyer trial
GRAHAM Dwyer told a suicidal American woman he met online that he fantasised about “coming after her” and killing her, after first killing Elaine O’Hara, the Central Criminal Court heard.
The woman, Darci Day, told his murder trial that he described how in his fantasy he would drive her to a location where he would cut her throat as they had sex.
Ms Day also said, however, that she never met him in person and she never thought he was serious, and if she had she would have reported it.
She broke down in tears several times as she gave her evidence by video link.
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 Mr Dwyer killed her for his own sexual gratification.
Ms Day yesterday told Sean Guerin SC, prosecuting, that she had had a difficult childhood.
“I basically felt like I was worthless to my family and I just didn’t want to live any more and my presence in their life was hindering them so I struggled a lot with suicide and self-harm. Very, very depressed,” she said.
Ms Day said she started going online to talk to people who had similar thoughts and fantasies.
“I didn’t have the courage to actually kill myself,” she said.
She was on two sites, one which was called darkfettishnet.com, using the name Cassie and talked about fantasies she had about dying. Around 2010 to 2011 she had problems, she said, including the loss of her dog and job on the same day.
Mr Guerin asked Ms Day if the name Graham Dwyer meant anything to her.
“It does,” she replied.
“I can’t remember what website I found him on or anything but we talked a lot through Gmail.”
She said they were mainly in contact through her email email@example.com and some texts.
“A lot of our discussion was about similar fantasies and I unloaded all this stuff on him about things I was going through and feeling like a failure to my family and we discussed him basically ending my life,” Ms Day said.
“I told him a lot of stuff going on in my life. I needed someone to talk to. He was there and he listened to me and offered me a solution.”
She said a lot of the fantasies were on rape and murder.
While they texted through her ordinary regular mobile number “he had talked about getting a separate cell phone for communication. Like a track phone”, she said, explaining this meant a prepaid phone.
“We sent links to videos of throat cutting or strangulation videos,” she said.
“There were some pictures, I don’t remember them all. I do remember diagrams being sent. Diagrams that were where the arteries and stuff were so that you wouldn’t miss.”
Ms Day said she didn’t know much about Dwyer but knew he had a wife. When asked if he ever mentioned any other person, she replied: “Yes, he did mention Elaine O’Hara.
“I knew they had an intimate relationship and he told me she was similar to me and was suicidal. He said that he used to cut her. On the stomach area and stuff.”
She said he told her “that it was mutual and sexual” and also involved “bondage type stuff”.
“I believe she had asked him to kill her in the past,” she added.
“What did Graham Dwyer say about that?” Mr Guerin asked.
“I honestly don’t remember too much about it,” Ms Day replied. “His fantasy was basically wanting to stab a woman to death during sex.”
Mr Guerin asked if Mr Dwyer had expressed any fantasies that featured Ms O’Hara.
“Yes he did... that he basically wanted to go after her and if she wanted to, he wanted to kill her and come after me,” she said.
Mr Guerin asked if there had been any discussion of the possibility of her meeting him.
“He didn’t talk too much about Elaine but in reference to me, he was looking at places in Maine that were like disposal sites,” she replied. She agreed there was a discussion about “the method” in the suggestion that he would kill her.
“That he would have me meet him somewhere and then from there I would leave my car and get in the car with him and he would drive me to the location and then basically from there… he wanted to have sex and then cut my throat until I lost consciousness during intercourse,” Ms Day said.
Mr Guerin asked if anything was ever said about the possibility of him getting caught doing this and what he could do to avoid that. She said she did not remember anything specific.
Cross-examined by Remy Farrell SC, Ms Day confirmed that she suffered from ADD, learning disability and PTSD.
She was not currently on any medication, she said. Mr Farrell asked if things had changed in her life since 2011.
“They have changed amazingly,” she said. “During that period, I ended up giving my life to Christ and turning my life around.”
She first met Detective Ryan Brockway on April 29, 2014 when he called to her home and interviewed her about the case.
She did not want to disclose her medical records.
Asked if self-harm was still a problem for her, she replied: “Absolutely not.”
Mr Farrell said gardai had travelled to Maine on July 15, 2014 and she made a statement.
She was asked if she could provide any of the emails that passed between her and Mr Dwyer.
“I don’t have any of that old stuff, I got rid of everything when I turned my life around,” Ms Day said. “I didn’t want to be reminded of the pain of this stuff. It’s all gone.”
Mr Farrell asked if she had been under the impression that it was something Mr Dwyer would not do.
“Yeah, I didn’t think he was actually serious about it,” she replied. “If I had any idea that he was actually serious, I would have done something, I would have reported it.”
Mr Farrell put it to her she met other men and there was one person – not Graham
Dwyer – that she thought was serious and he scared her.
“That is correct,” she replied.
She agreed that she ultimately ceased contact with Mr Dwyer and that he did not contact her again.
“He was very respectful about leaving me alone,” she said.
When Det Brockway put Mr Dwyer’s email address to her she was able to recognise him from it. “So he used his own name with you at all times,” Mr Farrell said.
“That is correct,” Ms Day replied. She agreed she had Googled the case in 2014 and did not want to explain differences in her account to Det Brockway and her evidence in court.
“I don’t remember exactly what was said,” she said. “I have been in shock since day one and I am still reeling.”
She accepted that she “might have” sent Mr
Dwyer pictures of her knife collection, and that she still maintained the collection.
“I guess I haven’t gotten rid of those,” she said.
She accepted she had given Mr Dwyer the location of a store where she worked and that “part of the fantasy... was that he might turn up at any time”.
Mr Farrell asked if she sent Mr Dwyer a picture of herself that may have been photoshopped to show stab wounds.
She held her head in her arms, broke down crying and replied: “I don’t want to answer this question. I don’t want to do this.”
The judge allowed a break in the evidence. When it resumed, Mr Farrell questioned Ms Day about a video on her Facebook page, in which a woman is having sex with a corpse.
She agreed she was tagged by a friend and commented how she found it “hard to look away” as it was “horrifying”.
“I want to a say a huge prayer for the family of Elaine, I am so heartbroken, I feel so terrible, I am so sorry. I’m just praying for all of you guys,” she continued, in tears. “I’m praying for Graham and his family.”