herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Paint on spade near Elaine and samples from Dwyer’s garden ‘did not match’

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

PAINT spots on a spade found in woods near Elaine O’Hara’s remains did not match paint samples taken from the garden of Graham Dwyer’s home, his murder trial has heard.

A forensic scientist said she tested spots of paint on the spade and while it looked similar to paint found in tins and on a fence at Mr Dwyer’s home, differences in the chemical composition meant it did not match.

The day before, the accused’s wife, Gemma Dwyer, had told the jury she believed the spade in the woods came from the back garden of their family home. She had said she recognised it because of paint splatters which she said happened when the shed and fence had been painted years earlier.

The jury also heard that while semen found on Ms O’Hara’s mattress matched Mr Dwyer’s DNA profile, there was no forensic evidence linking him to any of a series of items found. There was also no blood or any DNA matching Ms O’Hara found in three cars at his home.

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.

Read More: Graham Dwyer Trial: Elaine's blood, and semen matching the accused, found on mattress

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.

Read More: Spade found near Elaine's body was ours - Graham Dwyer's wife tells court

The jury heard Bridget Fleming, from the Chemistry Section of the Forensic Science Laboratory at Garda Headquarters was asked to analyse the spade from Killakee Wood as well as three containers of brown timber paint or protector and a  piece of the fence taken from Kerrymount Close. The purpose was to see whether any traces from the spade could have been from the samples of paint from Mr Dwyer’s home.

“They were similar to the others,” Ms Fleming said of the comparison between the spade and the Kerrymount Close samples.

She explained to Sean Guerin SC, for the prosecution, that they were all similar in colour with slight variations in appearance. They were also similar in chemical composition.

Read More: No DNA evidence was found in tests from scene in woods

However, she said, differences observed in the chemical composition “meant that they did not match”.

Under cross examination, Ms Fleming told Remy Farrell SC, defending, she examined the spade forensically between December 18, 2013, and February 4, 2014.

Read More: ‘That awful girl’: Dwyer in letter to his wife

She found small differences in the chemical composition between the spots on the spade and in the tins.

“That is why it did not match. It’s very similar but did not match,” she said.

“It wasn’t the same as any of the paint which I saw from Kerrymount Close.”

Dr David Casey, also attached to the Forensic Science Laboratory, said Ms O’Hara’s blood was found on the mattress on her bed as well as a bean bag cover, both of which had “stab cuts” on them.

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

Dr Casey said a full DNA profile matching that of the accused was found on three of five semen-stained areas on the mattress.

Four areas of bloodstaining matched the DNA profile of Ms O’Hara.

Dr Casey also examined several items seized in Killakee Woods, where Ms O’Hara’s remains were found, and from a second site a short distance away.

A pair of black tracksuit bottoms found were in poor condition and covered in mud, dirt, staining and vegetation                                  staining.

The inside was stained from animal or insect activity, the court heard, however there was no semen or blood inside.

DNA on semen found on one of two condoms from a second site in Killakee was profiled for an unknown male and the accused was excluded, he said.

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

Dr Casey also examined the spade found in the same area and found no blood and insufficient DNA to test on it.

He was involved in an examination of three cars from Mr Dwyer’s family home – two Freelanders and an Audi TT.

He examined the vehicles using a chemical spray and florescent light which highlights dried blood.

“After extensive search of the vehicles there was no blood present,” he said.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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