At a Glance: Items found in apartment listed at Dwyer trial

Witnesses tell counsel of discoveries made at Elaine O’Hara’s home and where body was found

Remy Farrell SC, who is defending Dublin architect Graham Dwyer who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Elaine O’Hara in August, 2012. Photograph: Collins Courts

Remy Farrell SC, who is defending Dublin architect Graham Dwyer who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Elaine O’Hara in August, 2012. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

Witnesses

Pádraig Finnerty, a CCTV engineer, gave evidence of installing the closed-circuit television at Elaine O’Hara’s apartment complex, Belarmine in Stepaside, in January 2012.

Mr Finnerty said he was asked by gardaí to supply them with footage from certain dates. The court heard gardaí had encountered difficulties with the date and time stamps on some of the footage.

Seán Guerin SC, prosecuting, asked Mr Finnerty if he was of the view that the machine was operating correctly. He said he was.

He was pressed under cross-examination from Remy Farrell SC, defending, to explain why there appeared to be “five hours” missing from footage from January 18th, 2012.

He said the cameras did not record unless motion was detected. Asked could he explain why the screen was sometimes black and would sometimes say “no video” instead, he said he did not know.

Det Garda Ultan Sherlock was on duty at Stepaside Garda station on August 24th, 2012, the day Ms O’Hara was reported missing by her family.

The now retired garda said he went to Ms O’Hara’s apartment with members of her family to carry out a “cursory search”. He said he found “two heavy chains, particularly heavy metal chains” in a bedside locker. He said this struck him as “unusual”.

“I observed in the living room a black PVC body suit,” Mr Sherlock told the court. “There was a rope in the living room as well.”

He thought it might have been “similar to a washing line”.

He said he was shown images on the phone belonging to Ms O’Hara’s younger brother John O’Hara, from a website address which he had found written on a notebook in the apartment.

The website seemed to contain S&M activity.

Asked by Ronan Kennedy, defending, if he discussed S&M with the O’Hara family, he said No. He did ask about the possibility of a boyfriend.

“I was told the family were not aware of any boyfriend,” he said.

Garda James Codd, the exhibits officer, gave evidence of items removed from the Vartry reservoir.

These included bondage cuffs; chains; a rope; a gag; clothing; a knife; an inhaler; a leather mask; a gag and chains; and a set of keys.

He was also given a Nokia phone; cuffs; a white sex toy; a black sex toy; tape; a leather collar; a Real Madrid towel and shorts; a bag with the barrel of a gun in it and a large camera lens.

Garda Codd also listed items removed by gardaí from Ms O’Hara’s apartment in Belarmine. These included a hairbrush; chains; padlocks; pillow cases; a duvet cover; a fitted bed sheet; a disposable razor; a toothbrush head; cigarettes; a PVC dress; an empty lubricant tube; prescription medication; rope and a gas mask.

He also identified a page from a website about “Gorean Lifestyle”, based on novels written in the 1960s and 1970s and featuring women as slaves.

Magali Vergnet outlined how she discovered the remains of Ms O’Hara in a wooded area on Killakee Mountain. A professional dog walker, she was walking dogs on private land at Killakee on September 13th, 2013.

She was ready to return home when she noticed her own dog, Millie, was missing.

She went searching for Millie and came across the bones and some clothing in the wood, a tracksuit bottoms and shoe. Her dog also recovered two big bones.

She contacted the landowner, Frank Doyle, and they revisited the site that evening along with a friend.

When they found a mandible – a jaw bone – they realised the bones were human remains. They also found a knife blade near the area where she parked her car. They contacted gardaí from Mr Doyle’s home.

Garda John Paul Durkan, a family liaison officer, told the court he was the “conduit” for information to and from the O’Hara family.

He said he stayed in regular contact with them in the year after Ms O’Hara went missing and informed them of the latest developments and various leads in the case.

Garda Durkan said he told them when items were found in the Vartry reservoir and informed them that a forensic examination of Ms O’Hara’s apartment would be carried out. He said the family wanted to find out the truth about what happened to her.