herald

Monday 18 December 2017

'Lonely' Elaine thought she 'wasn't born for life'

ELAINE O'Hara felt she "wasn't born for life", that nobody liked her and she was a bad person, doctors noted in her medical records from a mental health hospital.

She was admitted 14 times over the years and on one occasion, she described having a "play in her head in which she was being persecuted", the jury heard.

The records described Ms O'Hara as having a "very lonely life with no friends" in 2005.

Remy Farrell SC, for the defence, read from a series of admission and discharge records from a hospital that Ms O'Hara had attended.

He asked her GP, Dr Matthew Corcoran, to comment on some of the entries. Some of the admissions related to episodes of self-harm although there were other features such as depression and anxiety.

The first noted that she had been admitted on February 29, 2000 and discharged on May 19, 2000, that year.

The record stated that Ms O'Hara was 24-years-old, was "sad and angry" and had low self-esteem and appetite. It referred to self-harm and noted she was finding it "difficult to control her impulses". Her final diagnosis on that occasion was: "Recurrent depressive disorder and strong possibility of emotionally unstable personality disorder."

The second hospital discharge summary related to May 14 to July 12, 2003.

The court heard her mother had died in March 2002. It noted that Ms O'Hara had been feeling "low for some time" and was "finding it difficult to think straight".

According to the record, Ms O'Hara had been cutting herself superficially to inflict pain.

SUICIDAL

She had described tying herself up in role play and there were also references to "self-hate".

Between April 22, 2005 and June 10 that year, Ms O'Hara was readmitted at the age of 29. She had said: "I am not well, I'm going insane, I'm becoming angry at small things.

"I have had this all my life, it is just coming to the surface now," Mr Farrell read from the summary. "I wish they would let me die."

The records referred to thoughts of deliberate self-harm and fleeting suicidal thoughts and "possible death wish." Ms O'Hara had said: "I wasn't born for life, no-one likes me, I am a bad person." Social withdrawal was also noted.

On an admission between July 21, 2005 and August 8 that year, the reason given was: "She believes people are watching her and talking about her and is preoccupied with some intrusive thoughts which she describes as a play in her head, in which she is being persecuted. She became agitated when asked to expand on this."

At that time, her current circumstances noted that she was working in a shop, living alone in a rented flat and smoking 40 cigarettes a day.

"She lives a very lonely life with no friends and finds it very difficult to trust people," Mr Farrell read from the record.

Stuart Colquhoun, a therapist who saw Elaine O'Hara the day before she vanished told the court she was not suicidal at the time and was "brighter generally" in 2012.

hnews@herald.ie

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