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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Text message to Elaine stated, 'must get fit for the murder', court told

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

A TEXT message sent to Elaine O'Hara's phone read: "looking forward to getting new bike… must get fit for the murder," the Central Criminal Court has heard.

The message was backed up to her computer and was among more than 4,000 recovered from its hard drive by forensic detectives after she disappeared.

Five of the texts were shown to the jury in the Graham Dwyer murder trial as gardai and computer experts gave detailed technical accounts of how they were retrieved.

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.

Read More: Graham Dwyer trial: Elaine told nursing staff about 'soliciting someone to kill her'

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.

Detective Sergeant Alan Browne told the jury he examined the hard drive of Ms O'Hara's Apple Mac laptop and extracted thousands of text messages.

Several messages were recovered between Ms O'Hara's iPhone and the number 083 1103474, Anne Marie Lawlor, prosecuting barrister said.

"Good, looking forward to getting new bike tomorrow to try and lose weight. Must get fit for the murder," she read in one recovered text.

The second read: "Terrible 15pc pay cut and came 5th in flying," she said.

Read More: Graham Dwyer Trial: Elaine O'Hara had been suffering from 'obsessional' fantasy about being restrained since age of 12 - psychiatrist

Ms Lawlor and Det Sgt Browne went through the methodology by which the text messages were retrieved from Ms O'Hara's laptop and converted into a readable format.

Three more messages were used as examples and screenshots were shown to the jury.

The third message, from the 083 1103474 number to an iPhone backed up to Ms O'Hara's laptop, was dated March 31, 2011 at 8.17am and stated: "Yes, beautiful baby girl ... Glad u enjoyed the other night many more sessions like it to come! See u sometime over the weekend…"

The fourth message was sent from an iPhone backed up to Ms O'Hara's computer and was dated November 15, 2011.

It stated: "Sir any chance you get an 086 phone sim I get free texts?"

The fifth message shown to the jury from the same date stated: "No problem. Away in Poland from tomorrow so see u Sunday?" This was received by a phone backed up to Ms O'Hara's computer and was sent from the 083 number.

Detective Garda Brid Wallace, of the Garda Computer Crime Unit, said she became involved in the investigation in September 2013, after Ms O'Hara's remains had been recovered.

Read More: Graham Dwyer Trial: Elaine O'Hara felt she 'wasn't born for life', that nobody liked her and she was a bad person, doctor noted in medical records

Det Gda Wallace said she created a forensic image of Ms O'Hara's hard drive, or an identical copy of all the information on it.

Several messages had been discovered on Ms O'Hara's iPhone from the number 083 1103474. That number had been saved under the contact 'David'.

She also found a calendar entry on June 30, 2011, stating: "Graham's phone number 083 1103474", and another on the same date saying: "school finished for summer", the court heard.

Witnesses from An Post gave evidence of a number of phone top-ups being purchased. One, for €10, was bought at Ballsbridge Deli, Merrion Road at 12.30pm on July 24, 2012.

The second, for €20 was bought at Centra, Cathal Brugha Street at 4.36pm on July 3, 2012.

The court heard this information was sought by gardai under section 8 of the Data Protection Act.

Brian Tobin, operations manager for electronic payments firm Payzone Ireland, gave evidence about another five top-ups brought through the company's terminals.

The top-ups included €10 credit purchased in the Centra store in Cornelscourt, Foxrock, at 10.53am on May 28, 2012.

Others included purchases from Jones Deli on Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, on November 22, 2011; The Market Food Store, Belarmine, Stepaside, Dublin 18 on November 30, 2011; another from Jones Deli on December 1, 2011; and a €40 top-up in the 3 store on Grafton Street on March 24, 2011.

David Masterson, senior systems administrator with Payzone Ireland, confirmed there was nothing extraordinary before, during or after these purchases and they gave an accurate reflection of sales at that time.

Paul Healy, an employee of the 02 store on Grafton Street, confirmed that at around 4.30pm on November 30, 2011, he sold two Nokia mobile phones to one person.

IDENTIFICATION

He said it was a pre-pay deal, and the customer did not have to provide any identification.

"They do now, but not back then. There were no details given, other than the phone number," he said.

A receipt recorded just one telephone number - 086 175 1151. Mr Healy explained that there was only space on the receipt for one of the two handset numbers sold.

The receipt showed the sale of two Nokia 1616s, and that a total of €69.98 was paid in cash.

Jim Whelan, a loss prevention manager with Carphone Warehouse Ireland said he was contacted by gardai on November 20, 2013 and asked to provide information on Ms O'Hara's customer account.

Screenshots of the account showed the recording of a sale of a 3 Network USB modem for internet connection on September 12, 2007.

Another sale was an upgrade to an iPhone 4S on May 30, 2012. Ms O'Hara physically signed a contract for that upgrade.

Mr Whelan said identification would have been required because it was a bill contract.

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

hnews@herald.ie

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