Graham Dwyer trial: Images of knives in apartment, trial told

Deceased had emotional age of 15-year-old, partner of woman’s father tells court

Gardaí who searched the apartment of Elaine O'Hara after she disappeared found "printouts" with photographs and information on hunting knives, the murder trial of Graham Dwyer has been told.

Garda John Hayes told the Central Criminal Court that a latex suit and rope was not among the items gathered up by a Garda search team that examined the property at Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside, south Dublin.

Ms O’Hara’s father, Frank O’Hara, earlier told the trial he found the items when he first visited the property as concerns grew for his daughter’s safety in the days after she was last seen alive on August 22nd, 2012.

Mr O'Hara's partner, Sheila Hawkins, told the court she recalled finding a black latex body suit in the apartment when she went there with Mr O'Hara.


She said she put her hand inside a basket and “recoiled because my hand felt this oily, rubbery substance”.

“I pulled my hand out and saw a black latex outfit,” she said. “I didn’t tell her father at the time because he was very distressed.”

Active Hunting Ireland

Among other items found were two printouts from the Active Hunting Ireland website. Both contained a descriptions of two different hunting knives with small photos of the knives.

One was a “Buck special knife 119” with a 15cm blade. The other was a Buck special 219 with a cocobolo handle and “six-inch blade”.

Mr Dwyer is charged with murdering the 36-year-old Dublin childcare worker and shop assistant in Co Dublin on August 22nd, 2012. He has pleaded not guilty.

The State alleges he killed her for sexual gratification.

Ms O’Hara’s remains were found 13 months after she disappeared.

Ms Hawkins said she went to Ms O'Hara's apartment after Ms O'Hara failed to turn up to take a lift from her on the morning of August 23rd. They were due to travel to the Tall Ships Festival where Ms O'Hara had volunteered to work.

A psychologist by profession, Ms Hawkins was aware of Ms O’Hara’s mental health issues and from her experience believed she had the emotional age of a 15-year-old.

“She told me she had an interest in tying herself up in her adolescent years,” Ms Hawkins told Mr Justice Tony Hunt.

“My knowledge of her interest in BDSM [bondage, discipline and sadomasochism] came from a conversation with her father where she disclosed she was meeting someone.”

Distressed state

She said the day Mr O’Hara learned of his daughter’s interest in such sexual activity, he called her immediately “in an incredibly distressed state”.

She added there were “two blurtings out” in 2011 when Ms O’Hara told her she had had sex for the first time and had also said that she had miscarried.

Ms O’Hara had also mentioned dating “a fella from Terenure with long hair”.

“She wasn’t creative enough to come up with out-and-out lies,” Ms Hawkins said of Ms O’Hara. “When she embellished, it was always within a particular frame of reference.”

Ms Hawkins told the court she had concerns about Ms O’Hara self-harming.

“On one occasion, in House of Fraser in Dundrum, I was helping her buy an outfit for a christening. She called me into a fitting room to give an opinion. As she was removing her trousers, I saw two marks on her right inner thigh,” she said.

She said the marks were “reasonably fresh, symmetrical and they mirrored each other in length”. They were three to four inches long. “I knew they weren’t accidental because they were symmetrical,” said Ms Hawkins.

“I did ask her about them and she said she had cut herself.”

The trial continues.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter