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Thursday 14 December 2017

Graham Dwyer trial: Architect hit with €17k salary cut

Architect Graham Dwyer is accused of the murder of Elaine O’Hara (inset), from Killiney, Co Dublin
Architect Graham Dwyer is accused of the murder of Elaine O’Hara (inset), from Killiney, Co Dublin

ARCHITECT Graham Dwyer had his salary cut twice in the years before he was charged with murdering Elaine O'Hara, the Central Criminal Court heard.

The accused, who was a partner in a successful Dublin firm, had his annual pay cut from more than €87,000 to €70,000, documents seized from his family home showed.

His pay was cut by 10pc in January 2011 and again by 11.5pc from June 2011, representing a total drop of €17,350.

The financial papers shown to the jury were among 219 exhibits collected by gardai at Mr Dwyer's house after they arrested him in 2013.

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

Read More: Accused's son shown stills from apartment block's CCTV

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

Her remains were found by a dog walker in undergrowth in the Dublin mountains on September 13, 2013.

Yesterday, Det Gda Colm Gregan told prosecution barrister Anne Marie Lawlor that he was involved in the search of Mr Dwyer's home on October 17, 2013.

He searched an 03 D Audi A4 outside the house and seized a grey and black Northface jacket found in the boot. An 02 D Land Rover Freelander was also parked outside.

Inside, he seized a filing cabinet which he examined back in the garda station 11 days later, the court heard.

Among the documents detained was a letter from Mr Dwyer's son Sennan McShea, birth certificates for Mr Dwyer's young son and daughter, correspondence about salary cuts and pensions from his employers and several invoices from garages which had been paid.

Two letters from his employers, A&D Wejchert architects, of Baggot Street, were found in the filing cabinet. They were shown on screens to the jury.

Read More: Graham Dwyer Trial: Gardai showed Graham Dwyer's son stills of CCTV taken at Elaine O'Hara's apartment complex

In one, dated December 22, 2010, he was notified of a pay cut from €87,350 to €78,615. In the second, from June 20, 2011, he was told his pay was being cut again, to €70,000. He was sent a letter about a €13,618 pension payment on May 31, 2011.

Under cross-examination, Gda Gregan told defence counsel Remy Farrell SC that he "honestly could not recall" if he had been asked to look for specific paperwork regarding Mr Dwyer's salary.

He said he took hold of items be believed may or may not be relevant to the investigation, but could not remember why.

Mr Farrell questioned why the garda seized other items from the house, including cable ties and a wetsuit.

Read More: Graham Dwyer arrested as he answered door of Foxrock home a month after Elaine O'Hara's remains found, court hears

"I do recall something in relation to a wetsuit hat," Det Gda Gregan replied.

"It was relevant to the scene where the body was found or thereabouts."

Mr Farrell asked if Det Gda Gregan had been in court for the opening of the prosecution's case. He replied that he had not.

"It's no great secret why the prosecution thinks the pay cuts are relevant," Mr Farrell said. "You seem to be unaware of it."

Det Gda Gregan said he could not recall why he seized the documents.

Gda Sean Balfe said that in the master bedroom he seized a Hewlett Packard laptop on a desk in the corner. At the same desk there were three drawers and in the top drawer he found a Seagate hard drive.

In the second drawer, Gda Balfe found two media storage devices. These were for the storage of electronic data.

Gda Jonathan Shine was involved in the search on October 17. In an office upstairs in the house he located an HP desktop PC under the desk.

Gda Derek Mullen said he seized a small tube of Arnica cream in a beside locker in a child's bedroom.

Det Gda William Kavanagh agreed that the focus of the search was on computers and digital media.

He agreed there were other items of interest to the gardai, including bull clips, "cable ties and so on".

Det Gda Kavanagh agreed that condoms were seized in the search of the house.

Also seized were a grey tarpaulin from one of the vehicles, a backpack and a couple of rolls of duct tape.

A spade was photographed in the garden but did not appear in the exhibits chart.

The court heard that garda photographers Dermot Whiston and Derek Coady took photographs as search teams examined Mr Dwyer's home and workplace.

Both told the court they took thousands of images, which were handed over to investigators who created albums for the trial.

Under cross-examination, Gda Whiston told Mr Farrell he took six CDs worth of photographs inside and outside the building.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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