Graham Dwyer found guilty of murdering Elaine O’Hara

Jury had been deliberating for three days

Architect Graham Dwyer has been found guilty of the murder of childcare worker Elaine O’Hara. Colin Gleeson reports.

 

An explanation of the ingredients of murder, given to the jury in the trial of Graham Dwyer at the Central Criminal Court, was the final advice that helped them reach a guilty verdict.

Dwyer (42), an architect from Kerrymount Close, Foxrock was found guilty of murdering childcare worker Elaine O’Hara at Killakee Mountain on August 22nd, 2012.

He had pleaded not guilty.

Ms O’Hara’s remains were found in forestry on Killakee Mountain, Rathfarnham, Dublin, on September 13th, 2013. She had been reported missing 13 months earlier.

The prosecution had argued he stabbed the 36-year-old to death for his own sexual gratification. The trial lasted for nine weeks.

The case centred on more than 2,600 text messages sent to Ms O’Hara’s phone, from an 083 phone bought by Dwyer under an assumed name and from two Nokia phones, the master and slave phones, recovered from the Vartry reservoir and also bought by Dwyer.

Shortly before 3.30pm on Friday, the foreman of the jury asked Mr Justice Tony Hunt to explain again what made up murder.

The judge told them murder was made up of the same ingredients as other crimes; a “state of affairs” and an “appropriate mental intention”.

He said they had to be satisfied that Dwyer stabbed Ms O’Hara, and at the time of the stabbing, he had the intention either to kill or seriously injure her. They also had to be satisfied the stabbing caused or contributed to her death.

Less than half an hour later, after about seven and a half hours of deliberation, the jury returned with its unanimous verdict.

Before they entered the court for the last time, the judge warned those gathered in the packed courtroom they were not to react to the verdict whatever it was.

“I want gardaí to keep an eye on that,” he said.

When the 12 filed in, the court registrar asked the foreman if they had a verdict on which they were all agreed. He said they did and handed her the issue paper, on which the verdict was written.

“Do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty?” she asked.

“Guilty,” he responded.

Mr Justice Hunt then thanked the jurors for their service and said even as a professional with the best part of 30 years experience, he didn’t find some of the material presented in the trial easy. He said it was “pretty horrendous”.

“No doubt you didn’t find it easy,” he said.

He said he was impressed by their attention during the case and their behaviour was a demonstration of first class citizenship.

“You’re private citizens,” he said. “You’ve done your duty and you’ve done your duty in an exemplary manner,” he said.

The judge also said the verdict was not his business, but it might be some consolation for them to know he “110 per cent” agreed with them. The question of suicide simply was not there, he told them.

He said they had been a long time coming to their conclusion and he would not normally express a view, but he wholeheartedly endorsed it.

Mr Justice Hunt also said it had been a pleasure and a privilege to have them as a jury and he exempted them from jury service for 30 years.

He also told them their deliberations were secret and they were not to be approached about the case. If they were approached they should contact an officer of the Courts Service, he said.

Though the mandatory sentence for murder is life in prison, Sean Guerin SC, for the prosecution, applied to the judge to adjourn sentencing. He said this was to allow for the preparation of victim impact statements.

Mr Justice Hunt adjourned the case to April 20th at 2pm. He told the jury arrangements could be made for them, should they wish to be present for sentencing.