Elaine O’Hara’s sister says she was ‘naive and very trusting’

Anne Charles tells Graham Dwyer trial of getting text from sister about a miscarriage

The sister of Elaine O'Hara has told the murder trial of south Dublin architect Graham Dwyer that Ms O'Hara was "quite naive, [and] very trusting of people".

Anne Charles told Dublin Central Criminal Court on Monday afternoon how she had failed to make contact with Ms O'Hara on the day of her disappearance.

“I tried to call her twice in the evening but there was no answer,” she said. “The first time was around 7pm. I left a voicemail. I’d been talking to my Dad and he said she was out of hospital. I’d wanted to tell her I was glad.”

On August 24th, 2012, Ms O’Hara’s father, Frank O’Hara, told Ms Charles he was concerned for his daughter’s welfare and was going to report her missing to the Garda.


Shanganagh searched

Ms Charles, her husband, her father and her younger brother John then searched the area around Shanganagh to try and find traces of Ms O’Hara following her disappearance.

"My Dad said they had been out to the cemetery to visit my mother's grave," Ms Charles told the court. "I knew my husband was in Dún Laoghaire at the time so I asked him to take a spin out to Shanganagh to have a look. The car was there.

“We went to Shanganagh. We decided to split up to look for her. We were there for most of the afternoon.”

After that the three of them went to Shankill Garda station, where Ms Charles gave Ms O’Hara’s iPhone to a garda sergeant.

‘Psychiatric difficulties’

Asked to describe Ms O'Hara by defence counsel Sean Guerin, Ms Charles said that "because of all her psychiatric difficulties she acted quite young".

“She never really grew up with the rest of us,” she said, and was “immature to a certain extent”.

Asked under cross-examination whether Ms O’Hara had ever talked about being pregnant, Ms Charles said she had.

“She texted me to say she had had a miscarriage,” she said.

“I asked all the usual questions. She fudged them. She didn’t really give me any answers. She said it was the result of a one night stand but wouldn’t really talk about it.”

Also giving evidence on Monday was Ms O’Hara’s brother John O’Hara.

He told the court how he and his family attempted to get into Ms O’Hara’s car at Shanganagh and enlisted the assistance of the AA in order to open the doors.

“They arrived and opened the car,” he said. “I went in to look in the front seats. I also checked the back seat and the boot.”

He said there were a number of items in the vehicle including a sat nav, a sat nav charger, a Leap card, cigarettes, a lighter, a Motorola phone charger and Ms O’Hara’s driver’s licence.

Later on, during a search of Ms O’Hara’s apartment, a laptop computer was located, as well as pictures of two hunting knives.

During the search of the apartment, John O’Hara said he came across a website address in a notebook.

‘Fetish website’

He visited the website and found it to be a “fetish lifestyle website”. Mr O’Hara said he showed the images on the site to gardaí­ and his sister.

He also set up a profile of his own in order to search for his sister’s profile on the site. He said he came to the conclusion that a particular profile with the username “chained brunette” belonged to Ms O’Hara.

During his cross-examination, Mr O’Hara told the court he informed detectives of the website and the profile he believed was his sister’s.

Mr Dwyer is charged with murdering Dublin childcare worker Elaine O’Hara (36) in Co Dublin on August 22nd, 2012.

The trial continues.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter