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Sunday 17 December 2017

Graham Dwyer Trial: Accused and his wife celebrated joint birthday in restaurant on day Elaine O'Hara's remains were found

Gemma Dwyer told the Central Criminal Court her husband had been "fantastic" on computers

Graham Dwyer (left) and Elaine O'Hara
Graham Dwyer (left) and Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara
Graham Dwyer
Elaine O'Hara

Murder accused Graham Dwyer and his wife had a joint birthday dinner in a restaurant on the same day Elaine O'Hara's skeletal remains were discovered, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Giving evidence for the prosecution, the wife of the accused, Gemma Dwyer, was asked about September 13th, 2013.

She told the Central Criminal Court she was aware Ms O'Hara's remains were found in the Dublin mountains that day.

She was also asked if the date was significant.

Read More: Graham Dwyer trial: Elaine’s profile on sex site had over 10k views

“My birthday is the 13th of September and Graham’s birthday is the 13th of September,” she said.

“We went out to dinner.

“We went out to a Mexican restaurant on South Great George’s Street and celebrated our birthday together.”

Ms Dwyer was giving evidence in the trial of her husband, Foxrock architect Graham Dwyer.

Mr Dwyer (42), 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 that day.​

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.

Earlier this afternoon, Mrs Dwyer fought back tears as she told the court she stayed in Holles Street one night after the birth of their daughter and had a lot of family visiting over the following days.

“It was a wonderful time, the birth of a child,” she told Mr Guerin.

Mr Guerin asked Mrs Dwyer how many computers were in the home.

“Graham's own laptop, I had a laptop. There would have been computers used from Graham’s office he would have had permission to bring home,” she replied.

She told the court her husband had been “fantastic” and “could do anything” with a computer.

When she did not have her own laptop, he set her up as a user on one they shared, but they had a separate log in and she agreed she never had any reason to look at his profile.

They also had back up drives because Mr Dwyer did a lot of three-dimensional work and he used drives and USB keys going in and out of work, she said.

Mrs Dywer was also asked about cars and replied: “There were a lot of cars. He would buy and sell cars quite frequently.”

She told the court her husband had been particularly fond of a Porsche 911 and “he called it his baby”.

Other cars he owned included two Audi A3s, an Audi 6 estate, Audi A4 estate and a blue Audi TT with a Galway registration number, she said.

Mrs Dwyer said she drove the blue TT a couple of times “at most” and she recalled her husband travelled to Galway while he was working on a planning permission application there.

On Mr Dwyer’s phone number - 087 2100 407 – she said this was the only phone number she knew of.

“Yes that was his work phone an the only phone I was aware of,” she replied.

Mrs Dwyer, a blonde haired woman with a small frame, wore a navy dress as she gave evidence for 50 minutes - the back of her right shoulder facing her husband the entire time.

She was shown pictures of several exhibits by the prosecution, including a rucksack of which she had no recollection, and two knives, which she agreed did not come from her kitchen.

She was also asked if her husband and any identifying marks.

“He has a tattoo on his shoulder,” she replied, describing it as a symbol from the Book of Kells, around the size on her palm on his left shoulder.

He got it “before I met him” in his student years, she believes.

Mrs Dwyer agreed that her husband’s firm was “were from Poland" and "came here in the 70s”.

When asked how he normally dressed for work she replied “most frequently in a black poloneck and jacket.”

She was then shown an exhibit photo of a jacket and she replied “Yep, Graham had a Northface jacket.”

She agreed that her husband had also had an interest in cycling and mountain biking and said she thought he used to meet others at the Hellfire club in the Dublin Mountains.

Mrs Dwyer said while aware Mr Dwyer had ordered a hunting knife in August 2012 and had it delivered to his workplace, she said she had no knowledge of it.

He had ordered a lot of aeroplane parts on the internet before, she said, and they were always delivered to their home where the “childminder would have signed for them, or the neighbours”.

Mrs Dwyer was also asked extensively about an exhibit in the murder trial and asked if she recognised a photograph of a spade.

“I do. The spade from our garden,” she said.

It being missing “was something that came to mind after the arrest”, she said.

“In relation to this space, I recalled that the spade had been missing from our garden for the whole summer of 2013.

“I spent a lot of time in the garden with the children with the swing set, the trampoline and the sand pit.”

Mrs Dwyer told the court how the dog from next door would foul, and she used to clean the dirt from the lawn and do the gardening.

“I mentioned it to Graham a number of times and in the end I used a spade from the sandpit,” she added.

Mrs Dwyer said she recognised the spade as the stickers on handle were familiar and there was a splatter “of orangey red paint on it”.

“The fencing and the garden shed had been painted in a fence like paint that had gotten everywhere,” she said.

Mrs Dwyer was shown a second spade which she found in the garden when she returned to her home after gardai had searched it.

“Things had been put back in place for the most,” she said, however compost was all turned out in back lawn.

“There was a spade among it. I said the Garda Siochana must have left that spade behind.”

Mrs Dwyer took a drink of water as she was shown a photograph of a swing set in her back garden, which she believed was taken on March 5, 2011.

“Before my daughter was born we bought this swing set for my son, and my dad and Graham built it. I believe the picture was taken when built,” she said.

Mrs Dwyer was asked to look to the left of the slide in the image.

“That’s our spade,” she replied, agreeing it was the one that had gone missing.

Mrs Dwyer was then asked about several dates, agreeing she remembered her husband visiting Ballyshannon in Co Donegal in July 2012, while she visited her parents in Sligo with her children in June 2011 when their baby daughter was three months old.

While away she was aware her husband was having “a lads' night”.

“He did yes,” she said.

“I knew he was planning to have something. Him and his old school friends, every year or two, one of them would have something.”

She confirmed Mr Dwyer also went camping with his father and brothers to Blind Stand in Cork.

She recalled he was away with them on August 18, 2012, as she met him the following day at a family day at Roundwood Flying Club.

Mr Guerin asked if she could also clarify the date of her husband’s 40th party – on September 15, 2012,

“That’s right yeah. I arranged it and it was in a restaurant in Bandon,” she said.

She also agreed her husband attended an An Bord Pleanala hearing for work, which she said was quite unusual, and she recalled repairs to a silver Audi which she said “was expensive to be fixed” and “caused a lot of upset”.

Mrs Dwyer also agreed that she sent Christmas and birthday cards to her sister-in-law Mandy, and agreed the address she had had been incorrect.

Her sister-in-law later told her the correct across and she crossed it out in her address book, amending the incorrect address which had been “Oaklawn, Clerihan, Co. Tipperary”.

“I don’t think you’ve any specific recollection of the week August 20, 2012, you just recall being busy in work,” Mr Guerin asked.

“Yeah,” Mrs Dwyer replied.

Earlier in her evidence, she told the jury that she has no specific recollection of the day in 2012 when Elaine O’Hara went missing.

Gemma Dwyer was speaking about Mr Dwyer's general movements and times he would leave for work and return to their home in the evenings.

Leading Gemma Dwyer through her evidence, Sean Guerin SC, prosecuting, asked if it was correct that she was the wife of “the accused man, Graham Dwyer.”

“I am,” she replied.

He asked when they first met.

“We were both students of architecture in Bolton Street,” she said.

Asked if it was the mid 1990s, or “that sort of time,” she replied: Correct.”

The court heard they began dating around 1997 and they subsequently married, she agreed.

They had initially lived in a cottage in Rathmines together, buying it in 2000, renovating it over a number of years and moving out again in 2007. They then lived in Kerrymount Close, Foxrock.

She agreed that her husband had ultimately worked with A&D Wejchert Architects and she was aware that he had been involved in working on a major project - the student centre in Carlow Institute of Technology.

She had two children with Mr Dwyer and she wrote their names and dates of birth down on a piece of paper, which was handed to Mr Justice Tony Hunt.

The judge said the children’s names should not be reported by the media.

Asked if she was aware that Mr Dwyer had a son, Sennan, from a previous relationship, she said: “Yes.”

“Were there issues with Sennan’s smoking when he was younger?” Mr Guerin asked.

“Yes, it was something that upset Graham greatly,” Ms Dwyer replied.

There was a similar issue with their childminder, she agreed.

“My childminder smoked but we agreed where and when she smoked, but he was never… he was always quite against that,” she replied.

She agreed that her husband had an interest in model aeroplane flying and Mr Guerin asked Ms Dwyer what level this interest was at.

“It was huge, it was every day he would work on his planes and every weekend he would practice or participate in competitions,” she said. “He would research planes on the internet a lot of the time, it was a huge interest.”

She said Mr Dwyer began flying in the Phoenix Park and after they moved to Foxrock he took up flying with the model plane club in Shankill, near the Sugarloaf.

He was invited to join the Roundwood club when he reached the right level of proficiency, she said.

Asked about his working hours, she said Mr Dwyer would work from 8.30am to 4.45pm.

She was then asked who looked after their children in the morning and evenings.

Ms Dwyer replied that when they moved house, she was initially working in the city centre and one child was in a creche. She went through redundancy and got another job, after which Mr Dwyer would leave first and she would wait for the childminder to arrive, then she would leave for her own work.

He would generally be home before her in the evening and the child minder would have left by the time she got home, except for days when Mr Dwyer was working late.

Ms Dwyer would generally have paid the child minder on Friday evenings.

Asked about days when it was common for her husband and her to have free time, she said on Wednesday afternoons, Mr Dwyer went to his model aeroplane club and sometimes on Thursdays, she would go sailing in Dun Laoghaire.

Asked if he would go directly to flying after work, she replied: “directly to flying, and I would expect him to be home at about 8.30.”

“I think you don’t have any specific recollection of Wednesday, the 22nd of August 2012,” Mr Guerin said.

“No,” Ms Dwyer replied.

The trial before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of seven men and five women.

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