Saturday 16 December 2017

Graham Dwyer Trial: Accused's 'carefully elaborated plan' to kill Elaine - prosecution's closing arguments

Elaine O'Hara and Graham Dwyer
Elaine O'Hara and Graham Dwyer

GRAHAM Dwyer brought Elaine O’Hara to the Dublin mountains to kill her after first coming up with a “carefully elaborated plan,” the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Prosecutor Sean Guerin SC told the jury in the murder trial the key elements of the accused’s plan included an isolated location and a “vulnerable” victim.

Mr Guerin was continuing to deliver his closing speech for the prosecution this morning.

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.

Read more: 'Predator' hid wickedness behind mask of pity, Dwyer trial jury told

Mr Guerin said he was this morning moving on to the question of how Mr Dwyer, as the prosecution alleged, “arranged to bring Elaine O’Hara to Killakee and his purpose in doing so, and in particular how what happened on that day fits into a plan that had been elaborated and thought about over a lengthy period of time by Graham Dwyer.”

He said there were three documents in particular that he wanted the jury to have regard to. These were the “Killing Darci” and “Jenny’s First Rape” stories that the jury head heard of and the text messages.

“There were a number of elements in the plan and issues that Mr Dwyer was clearly addressing in his mind,” Mr Dwyer said, adding that there was a “degree of fluidity” to the ideas that were in his mind.

One of the clearest examples was the question of “do I bury the body or do I leave a crime scene?”

Another issue was the choice of victim - if it was not someone who was willing, “how does he find someone?”

Mr Guerin said an estate agent was considered, if she was young and attractive and the house was isolated, but there were problems with this plan.

Read more: Prosecution believes pain was better than loneliness for Elaine

Another was a possible random attack on a hiker, that “he would visit a car park somewhere like Killakee”; a car park at a popular hiking spot. It would be late in the day and if the last car in the car park was “girly looking”, perhaps the “victim” would be still out walking alone.

He considered matters such as how to disable an unwilling person, such as with a blow from a hammer, Mr Guerin continued. However, he said “that might be messy.”

Chloroform was something Mr Dwyer experimented with “I say with a view to using it to that purpose,” Mr Guerin said.

“There was a plan formulated and there were ideas in his mind,” he continued.

If there was no single coherent plan in the texts it was because there were “clearly options available,” Mr Guerin said.

“They indicate a number of options he considered with a view to addressing them and putting into place a plan that not only would work but would result in him not getting caught,” Mr Guerin told the jury.

“When you look at what happened and particular the way in which Elaine O’Hara was brought to where she was brought on August 22, 2012, you can see that what in fact happened was the implementation of a plan that had been elaborated to address all these issues.”

The first feature, he said, was that the location should be isolated to reduce the chances of discovery and of a crime scene ever being found.

“You can tick that box in relation to what happened to Elaine O’Hara,” Mr Guerin said.

Read more: Dwyer's defence closes after just 28 minutes and three witnesses

He reminded the jury of the last message sent on August 21, stating: “going to check the scene now,” and the movement of Mr Dwyer’s phone at that stage.

The idea of an isolated location was not one that existed in a vacuum, he said, but was something that was closely connected to a forest location and that was another “box” that the jury could tick, Mr Guerin said.

He told the jury about the “three ways I can do it” that were suggested to Ms O’Hara in July 2012.

These included being stabbed and buried in the woods and her clothes left by the sea so it “looks like you drowned.”

Mr Guerin said this was not an exact account of what happened on August 22, but “it was very close to it.”

He said Mr Dwyer spoke of something other than a hammer that “involves less blood spray.”

“These are all parts of a plan that he was developing in the lead up to the 22nd of August,” he said.

One of the key elements he discussed with Elaine O’Hara was that the events and people at the location should be untraceable. He said the American woman, Darci Day had referred to the use of “track phones.”

When the question of suicide was being discussed with Ms O’Hara, Mr Guerin said, she texted “you are not available” and Mr Dwyer told her he had “an untraceable phone.”

Another element was that the person involved should be vulnerable and Mr Dwyer in a text referred to unemployment statistics in Ireland.

“It was important to make the circumstances look like suicide,” Mr Guerin said, reminding the jury of a line in the “killing Darci” document in which her family would “look over the sea on the coast of Maine” and think of their daughter having died by suicide.

“There is a striking resemblance” to what happened in this case, Mr Guerin said, stating that Ms O’Hara had been told to go down toward the sea.

“It was a particularly unfortunate coincidence that her mother was buried close to the sea and the thought of suicide and the fact of suicide could be linked so close together,” Mr Guerin said.

He told the jury in the “Jenny’s First Rape” story, a hunting knife was part of the “tool kit” featured. Mr Guerin said a knife was ordered on August 17, 2012, days before Ms O’Hara’s disappearance and while arrangements were being made by text to stab her.

He said the prosecution was not making the case that this was the knife used to kill Ms O’Hara but it was “part of the tool kit being assembled.”

Closing speeches in the trial continue today.

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