Sunday 21 January 2018

Graham Dwyer sentencing: 'He is a very dangerous man'


Graham Dwyer was jailed for life for the murder of childcare worker Elaine O'Hara
Graham Dwyer was jailed for life for the murder of childcare worker Elaine O'Hara

GRAHAM Dwyer has been jailed for life after a judge said he was a "very dangerous man" who carried out a "chilling and premeditated murder".

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the mandatory sentence was one that the architect "richly deserved" for stabbing childcare worker Elaine O'Hara to death in the Dublin Mountains.

He said Dwyer had shown no remorse and was in a "place of arrogance and delusion".

The judge paid tribute to Elaine's family for the "dignity and composure" they had shown during a "nightmarish" trial.

Dwyer showed no emotion during the sentencing hearing and was led away afterward to begin his jail term.

Last month, a jury unanimously found him guilty after a 10-week trial and one of the most complex murder investigations in the history of the State.

Dwyer (42), a father-of-three of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Elaine (36) at Killakee, Rathfarnham on August 22, 2012.

READ MORE: O'Hara Victim Impact Statement: 'When did Elaine realise this was not a game ... did she suffer, did she cry and was she left to die alone?'

He lured her to secluded woodlands where he stabbed her to death to satisfy a deep-seated "bloodlust".

Yesterday, 11 of the 12 jurors returned to the Central Criminal Court for the sentencing.

Also present were Elaine's father Frank O'Hara and partner Sheila Hawkins, as well as her brother John O'Hara and her sister Ann Charles. Dwyer's father Sean sat in the public gallery facing his son.

READ MORE: Not even a scintilla of remorse as Judge sums up 'evil' that is Dwyer

Detective Sergeant Peter Woods was first led through a summary of the evidence by prosecutor Sean Guerin SC, who then read out a victim impact statement on behalf of Elaine's family.

Judge Hunt observed that the accused had been in custody since the day of his arrest on October 17, 2013. He said the sentence would be backdated until then.

READ MORE: Prisoner 88335: Life behind bars is a far cry from flying model planes and fast cars

Dwyer's barrister Remy Farrell SC said this was the only issue he wished to have addressed.

Judge Hunt first commended the gardai involved, then said the trial had been a "very harrowing" one for the family members concerned.

"I thought each and every one of them were spectacularly courageous and brave in giving their evidence in the circumstances in which they did," he said.

READ MORE: Elaine's dad at Graham Dwyer sentencing: 'For us there is no parole'

He said Elaine's family "were subjected to the nightmarish scenario of having to sit through Elaine's most intimate details in court at the behest of Mr Dwyer".

The judge said in his view the victim impact statement "captured the essence of Elaine". While she had difficulties she was "well-loved and well-cared for" by all her family.

"I do hope they have some answers and some insight into how their daughter and their sibling was taken from them and in some corners of this very dark story, some light has been shone. There is only one person who knows the answer to these questions but that person has told nothing but manifest untruths to date and unfortunately the answers to those questions will probably never be known.

Judge Hunt said the lies Dwyer told in interview were to cover up the truth rather than out of shame or embarrassment.

"Shame and embarrassment were something in very short supply over in that corner of the court," he said.

"He carefully preserved evidence of his debauchery in documentary and video form, presumably to be revisited in private occasions to look on his great works."

"We can be thankful that a very dangerous man is out of the way, I am satisfied that that is what he is," the judge said.

"I don't know what's up with him. He is in his place of denial he is in his place of arrogance and delusion and there he will stay for the life sentence that I am going to commit him to in a moment. It's now time to face responsibilities. He is committed to a sentence of life imprisonment dating from September 17, 2013. It is a sentence he richly deserves.

"I point out the fact that no remorse of any kind has been expressed, instead we have the bizarre spectacle of a convicted murderer issuing a press statement, another first. The statement moreover makes no reference to the principal injured parties - the deceased, her family and his own wife. That perhaps again is a penetrating shaft of light into the mind of Mr Dwyer."

The judge concluded: "So that is it, life it is."

At 3.20pm, just over an hour after the hearing started, Graham Dwyer nodded to the prison guard, turned on his heel and left the court to begin that sentence.

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