A successful architect with an alleged deep-rooted sexual desire to stab women almost carried out the perfect murder but for an unusually hot summer which revealed breakthrough evidence thrown into a reservoir, it has been claimed.
Father-of-two Graham Dwyer, aged 42, of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, south Dublin, denies murdering childcare worker Elaine O’Hara, 37, in the Dublin mountains on August 22, 2012.
Opening the trial at the Central Criminal Court, prosecution barrister Sean Guerin SC claimed that text messages sent to Ms O’Hara, who was battling psychiatric illness, revealed a manipulative, abusive affair between the pair involving very unusual sexual practices.
It is alleged he texted her the year before her disappearance, saying: “I want to stick my knife in flesh while sexually aroused. Seeing blood turns me on and I’d like to stab a girl to death sometime.”
After a discussion about her suicidal tendencies, the court was told Mr Dwyer messaged: “If you ever want to die, promise you’ll let me do it.”
Ms O’Hara was last seen on the day of her alleged murder, near Shanganagh cemetery, outside Shankill, south Dublin, where her mother is buried, walking over a pedestrian railway bridge towards the sea.
At 12pm that day, she left St Edmundsbury Hospital, where she was being treated for around six weeks for her illness.
Her remains were discovered more than a year later on Killakee Mountain on September 13, 2013 by a dog walker.
“It was in fact very nearly the perfect murder, but for the fact of the warm summer and [the walker’s] dogs who found evidence that might never have been found,” said Mr Guerin.
The barrister said the “breakthrough” came three days earlier when anglers spotted something in the Vartry reservoir, Co Wicklow, where levels had plunged 6m because of unusually hot weather.
After pulling out clothing, rope, and handcuffs, the anglers alerted a garda in nearby Roundwood Garda Station, who returned to the scene and retrieved keys, a number of store loyalty cards, and two phones.
One of those cards — for a supermarket — led him to identifying the items as Ms O’Hara’s, who was recorded at the time as a missing person.
In a “remarkable coincidence”, three days earlier the dog walker came across remains in a wooded area at Killakee, later identified through dental records as those of Ms O’Hara.
An autopsy on the mostly skeletal remains could not determine the cause of death.
The two mobile phones were dried out and data forensically retrieved from them revealed disturbing messages back and forth between Ms O’Hara and another person in the lead-up to her vanishing, the court heard.
At the same time, detectives retrieved mobiles and a laptop from her apartment at Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside, with similar messages, revealing a deeply manipulative BDSM relationship, the prosecution alleges.
Semen found on a mattress taken from the alleged victim’s apartment matched Mr Dwyer’s DNA, the jury was told.
Among the texts to Ms O’Hara is one saying: “My urge to rape, stab, kill is huge. You have to help me control or satisfy.”
On another occasion, it is alleged Mr Dwyer texted about a stabbing case on the news, saying he would have loved to have been the attacker knifing the victim, and he was a “lucky guy”.
“I’m going to do it, you have to help me or it will be you,” the text said.
There is no forensic evidence to place the accused at the scene of where her mostly skeletal remains were discovered, the court was told.
Mr Guerin said the prosecution will seek to prove Mr Dwyer was the person who sent the texts and that the pair had an abusive relationship designed to satisfy the accused’s sexual desire to stab women.
The alleged victim was extremely submissive, liked to be restrained, and allowed herself to be punished, the court was told.
It is alleged the accused texted her: “I am a sadist. I enjoy others’ pain, you should help me inflict pain on you and help me with my fantasy.”
The pair were allegedly in a relationship years before, and when it was rekindled, Ms O’Hara texted that: “I’m not into blood any more”
It is claimed the relationship broke down in the year up to her disappearance, and Ms O’Hara resisted repeated attempts by the accused to meet up.
“I don’t want you to stab me any more,” she said in one text.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved