Married Foxrock businessman (41) arrested over Elaine O’Hara murder
Remains of childcare worker found by walker in Dublin mountains last month
An undated handout photo issued by the Garda press office of Elaine O’Hara. The 37-year-old Dunnes Stores worker’s remains were discovered in undergrowth in a forest in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains, last month.
Members of the Garda water unit investigating the discovery of Elaine O’Hara’s remains recover items including a ruck sack from the resivuoir near Roundwood, Co Wicklow last month. Photograph: Garry O’Neill
Ms O’Hara’s Fiat Punto was found at Shanganagh cemetery in Shankill.
Gardaí have until tomorrow to charge or release a father-of-two being questioned in connection with the killing of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara.
The 41-year-old was arrested early this morning by detectives investigating the death of Ms O’Hara, whose decomposed, partial skeletal remains were found in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains last month.
He was detained during a dawn raid at a house in the Foxrock area of Dublin.
Gardaí may question him until tomorrow afternoon at the latest. He is being held at Blackrock Garda station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.
Ms O’Hara (37), disappeared in August last year after leaving her home in Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside, and later being seen at a footbridge over a railway line at Shankill, Co Dublin. Detectives believe she might have met her killer on an adult contacts website. Ms O’Hara was described by her family as a popular woman, but was understood to have been vulnerable and had been treated in hospital for depression. She was also described as a trusted childcare assistant and worked in a newsagent’s in Blackrock. It is understood she had been using contact websites in the months leading up to her disappearance, and forensic experts have pored over internet records to build a list of people she came into contact with. Ms O’Hara’s remains were uncovered by a dog in the Killakee area, near Rathfarnham, on September 13. Handcuffs and restraints were found 20km (12 miles) away at Vartry reservoir near Roundwood, Co Wicklow, after some of Ms O’Hara’s belongings were discovered at the same spot during a spell of low water.
The arrested man is a professional and senior business figure in a company based in Dublin city centre.
Garda sources said the inquiry is at an advanced stage and is nearing completion. The suspect’s arrest this morning came during a surprise Garda operation.
Gardaí believe Ms O’Hara had been using a website for people with niche sexual preferences and the focus of the Garda inquiry to date has been finding the men she was in contact with through the site.
The website is not based in Ireland but has a large number of Irish members.
The dead woman’s computer and telephone records have been central in assisting gardai narrow down a list of people of interest in their inquiry, with the probe thus far culminating in this morning’s arrest.
Today’s arrest is the first in the case and it comes about a fortnight after investigating gardai identified a chief suspect.
Ms O’Hara, a childcare worker who also had a job in Dunnes Stores, was missing just over 12 months and was last seen on August 22nd, 2012.
Her decomposed remains were found in undergrowth on Friday, September 13th last, on Killakee mountain, Rathfarnham, south Co Dublin, at about 7.30pm.
The woman who found the remains was walking her dog when the pet ran into the undergrowth and refused to come out. The woman went in after the animal and found the partial skeletal remains, which were identified as those of Ms O’Hara’s from dental records.
Gardaí believe Ms O’Hara had been to visit the grave of her mother around the time of the last confirmed sightings of her.
She was seen at 5.05pm on that Wednesday evening leaving Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside, south Co Dublin, where she lived. She was originally from Killiney, south Dublin.
Just over an hour later, at about 6.15pm, there was a reported sighting of her near the footbridge over the railway line at Shanganagh in Shankill.
About two days later her green Fiat Punto, with its 05 D registration, was found at Shanganagh cemetery in Shankill, not far from the spot of the last sighting.
Investigators believe she went to meet a man at the time and died shortly after she was last sighted, before her killer dumped her remains where they were later found.
A bag containing a number of items belonging to Ms O’Hara, as well as her mobile phone and keys, were discovered in a reservoir near Roundwood in Co Wicklow at different times in the days just before and after her body was found.