Texts to Elaine O’Hara tell of sender getting ‘fit for murder’

Phone number attributed to ‘Graham’ and ‘David’ on O’Hara’s computer read to court

Det Sgt Andrew Browne leaving court after he gave evidence  in the trial of Graham Dwyer who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Elaine O’Hara in August 2012. Photograph: Courtpix

Det Sgt Andrew Browne leaving court after he gave evidence in the trial of Graham Dwyer who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Elaine O’Hara in August 2012. Photograph: Courtpix

 

A text message sent to Elaine O’Hara said the sender “must get fit for the murder” and referred to the sender as getting “a new bike”, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

The sender was an 083 number and the court was told that number was labelled as “Graham’s number” elsewhere on Ms O’Hara’s computer. It was also attributed to “David”.

Five text messages, backed up on Ms O’Hara’s computer from her iPhone and subsequently extracted by gardaí using specialised software, were opened to the court.

The messages included “Terrible. 15 per cent paycut and came 5th in flying”. A response appeared to be “Sir, welcome to reality”.

A second message read: “Looking forward to getting new bike tomorrow to try and lose weight. Must get fit for the murder.”

Another message, which the jury was told was dated March, 31st, 2011, said “Yes sir, dying for more play sir,” followed by “Yes, beautiful baby girl [name]. Glad u enjoyed the other night, many more sessions like it to come! See u sometime over the weekend.”

A fourth message said “Sir any chance you get an 086 sim I get free texts?” sent from Ms O’Hara’s iPhone on November 15th, 2011. On the same date, a fifth message read “No problem. Away in Poland from tomorrow so see you Sunday.”

The court was also told of two mobile phones with 086 numbers, bought on November 30th, 2011, at an O2 store on Grafton Street.

Graham Dwyer (42), Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, is charged with murdering childcare worker Ms O’Hara (36) on August 22nd, 2012. He has pleaded not guilty.

Ms O’ Hara’s remains were found in forestry on Killakee Mountain, Rathfarnham, on September 13th, 2013.

Det Garda Sgt Alan Browne, from the Garda computer crime unit, explained how he extracted the text messages from Ms O’Hara’s laptop.

He said Ms O’Hara had backed up her mobile phone to her Apple Macbook laptop and the data was transferred when she “synced it” to her computer. Successive back-ups on the computer meant earlier back- ups were automatically deleted by the system. Although the deleted data could not be found through an ordinary search, it was still on the computer in “unallocated space”.

Det Sgt Browne said he used software Photorec to “carve out” the files he was looking for from the unallocated space. The files recovered were SqLite, a format used for text messages. Software was then used to convert the code in which the data was held, hexadecimal code, into human readable text. The detective said 1,400 SqLite files were recovered, 14 of which contained hundreds of text messages.

The messages contained time stamps, allowing them to be dated. Some messages were in Unix Epoch Time, with the number of seconds counted from January 1st, 1970. Others used Mac Absolute Time, which counts the seconds since January 1st, 2001.

Det Sgt Browne also said some of the data could not be automatically converted into readable text by the software and he converted it manually using standard industry methods.

Also giving evidence yesterday, two financial crimes analysts from the Criminal Assets Bureau outlined the assistance they gave in extracting data from Ms O’Hara’s mobile phones and her laptop. Neither man was named in the court in order to protect their identity.

Det Garda Bríd Wallace gave evidence of her analysis of Ms O’Hara’s phone back-up on the laptop. She said an 083 number was stored under the contact “David”. She also recovered a calendar entry which said the same 083 number was “Graham’s number”.

Paul Healy, from O2 on Grafton Street, said two mobile phones with 086 numbers were bought there on November 30th, 2011. The Nokia 1616 prepay phones cost €34.99 each; at the time, a customer did not have to give details when buying a pre-pay phone, Mr Healy said. The store records showed “customer name” was filled in as “Mr asked not given Dublin”.

Brian Tobin, operations manager at Payzone Ireland, gave evidence of mobile phone top- ups processed through the company’s outlets. He was asked by Annmarie Lawlor, prosecuting, for the location and dates of the top-ups, tracked through their serial codes.

These were March 25th, 2011, at Three Store, Grafton Street; November 22nd, 2011, and December 1st, 2011, at Jones’s Deli, Lower Baggot Street; November 30th, 2011, at the Market Griffin’s, Belarmine, Stepaside, and March 28th, 2012, at Centra Cornelscourt.

Anne O’Reilly, manager of An Post fraud investigation unit, told the court of phone top-ups bought at Postpoint outlets. A €10 top-up was bought on July 24th, 2012, from the Ballsbridge Deli on Merrion Road, and a €20 top-up from Centra, Cathal Brugha Street, on July 3rd, 2012. Both were for O2.

Jim Whelan, manager at Carphone Warehouse, outlined two purchases by Ms O’Hara; a USB modem on September 12th, 2007, and an iPhone on May 30th, 2012.

The trial before Mr Justice Tony Hunt continues.