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Graham Dwyer: “I’m not an innocent person, but I’m innocent of murder”

Graham Dwyer
Graham Dwyer

Graham Dwyer told gardai that he was not an innocent person but was innocent of murder, during questioning following his arrest on suspicion of murdering Elaine O’Hara.

The architect admitted having a relationship with the Dubliner and agreed he had watched ‘erotic horror’ the night before his arrest, but said he hadn’t killed anyone.

His trial also heard a description of a video clip found, which showed Ms O’Hara going limp after Mr Dwyer tied a plastic bag over her head.

Detective Garda Peter Woods was giving evidence today on the 36th day of the architect’s murder trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Dwyer (42) is charged with murdering Ms O’Hara at Killakee, Rathfarnham, Dublin on 22nd August 2012, hours after she was discharged from a mental health hospital.

It is the State’s case that Mr Dwyer stabbed her for his own sexual gratification.

The Cork-born father of three of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock in Dublin has pleaded not guilty to murdering the 36-year-old childcare worker on that date.

Detective Sgt Woods gave evidence that gardai found a video clip where there was reference to strangulation, where Mr Dwyer and Elaine O'Hara were clearly identifiable.

He said Ms O'Hara's mole was visible, some of Mr Dwyer’s facial features were seen and he could also identify Mr Dwyer by a tattoo on his left shoulder.

D Sgt Woods said Mr Dwyer was seen placing a plastic bag over Ms O'Hara's head and a cable around her neck so as to seal the bag.

Mr Dwyer could be seen tightening the cable and at one point she was seen going limp and falling to one side.

Women in other video images could not be identified but Mr Dwyer's wife was not one of them, he said.

D Sgt Woods also gave evidence of interviewing the accused four times following his arrest on October 17th, 2013. He said that detectives showed him information regarding mobile phone cell sites used by his work phone and two phones they were attributing to him.

The accused said he didn’t see any pattern and asked how big the cell site area was.

The gardai then told him about the two mobile phones that the jury heard were found in a reservoir during the investigation into Ms O’Hara’s death.

He was told the gardai would call them the Master and Slave phones. The court had heard they were saved as SLV and MSTR in each other’s contacts.

“Do you know anything about Master and Slave?” he was asked.

“Not at this time,” he replied. “I’m thinking about my wife and kids.”

They told him that the Master phone was at Carron in Co Tipperary when he was there in July, 2012.

“That’s not my phone,” he said.

They then read him the text messages they had retrieved at that stage in their investigation, some of the more than 2,600 messages that the jury heard read out over the last few days of the trial.

“It is not me,” insisted Mr Dwyer.

The detectives showed him an entry in Ms O’Hara’s diary which attributed a 083 number to a person called Graham.

“That’s my name. That is not my phone,” he said.

After reading some messages in which Ms O’Hara was asked to find someone to stab, the gardai asked him if he had a stabbing fetish.

“Oh, my God. That’s not my phone,” he replied.

Detectives read to him a text sent to Ms O’Hara by the 083 phone user concerning the birth of that user’s baby and giving the girl’s name.

“That is the name of his (Mr Dwyer’s) daughter,” said D Sgt Woods in court.

A text in which the user suggested that Ms O’Hara wear a polo neck to cover marks he had given her was read to Mr Dwyer.

“Aren’t you wearing a polo neck?” asked the detectives.

“Everyone, who knows me, knows I wear a polo neck,” replied the accused.

They read him a message the man had sent Ms O’Hara in which he said he’d prefer she die by knife than in a fire.

“That’s awful stuff,” remarked Mr Dwyer.

Gardai mentioned a text in which Ms O’Hara had asked the man about his presentation and the detectives put it to him that he had done a presentation for the Polish ambassador.

“Not me,” he said.

They continued reading some of the messages found.

“That’s awful. Could you please stop?” he asked.

“No, sorry,” replied the gardai.

The gardai put it to him that the 083 phone was registered to his sister’s address. He said he couldn’t explain this.

“I’m mortified. It’s awful,” he said, as they continued to read the text messages.

They asked him what he had been looking at the previous night.

“Horror movies… Erotic horror. It’s sort of art to do with horror,” he replied. “Please stop. I’m thinking of my wife and kids. My private life is my private life… I’m mortified to describe it.”

He said he believed the detectives were trying to shock and upset him.

They continued reading the messages.

“This is really not turning me on. Do you want to check?” he asked. “F***ing hell. That is nuts. Honestly that is not me,” he added, after hearing more of the messages.

A message was read in which the 083 user said he could adjust his ‘kind offer’ to hang Ms O’Hara in her apartment.

“Oh, my God. Who’s that from?” asked Mr Dwyer.

“You,” replied a detective.

“That’s not me,” he insisted.

They read a text in which Ms O’Hara told a man that she was afraid now that she had given him keys. They then showed Mr Dwyer CCTV footage from her home, captured on August 15th, 2012.

“You enter when she’s not there,” said the detectives.

“Isn’t it true you derive sexual pleasure from stabbing?” he was asked.

“I don’t want to discuss my sex life,” he replied.

“I don’t want to hear anything else about rape or murder,” he said later.

“Anybody, who knows me, knows I wouldn’t hurt anybody,” he added.

“I’d like to preserve my marriage,” he said.

“You’re reading them to shock me,” he said at another stage.

“Shock that we have them?” asked the gardai.

“No,” he replied.

Mr Dwyer was shown one of the phones recovered from Vartry reservoir more than a year after Ms O’Hara went missing.

“How stupid of you. You thought you’d done the perfect crime,” suggested the detectives.

“That’s not my phone,” he said.

He was then told that forensic scientists had been working all day on the DNA sample he had given that morning and that his DNA had been found in Ms O’Hara’s apartment.

“I’m hoping you have my DNA and I can prove I didn’t kill anyone,” he replied.

He was asked how his DNA came to be there.

“I can understand how it would be there,” he said. “I’m not an innocent person, but I’m innocent of murder.”

He said he would not air his dirty laundry there.

“I don’t want my wife hurt,” he said.

He explained that he had met Ms O’Hara through a website a long time ago.

“She was deeper into it than me,” he said. “I wanted to keep this from my wife.”

Elaine O'Hara

“I suppose I wanted to meet her for some stuff,” he said. “She wanted to be chained up... She wanted to be kept in a cage all day with a bowl of water… She didn’t like sex.”

He explained that ‘knife play’ was an aspect of BDSM, but said that he wouldn’t cut anybody.

“The stuff with Elaine was fantasy,” he said.

“Did I have sex? Yes,” he said.

“It was escapism,” he said later.

“I’d say you’re looking in the wrong place,” he said.

He was asked how the Master and Slave phones got into the reservoir and he said he didn’t know.

He was asked about footage of him carrying a backpack out of Ms O’Hara’s apartment block on August 15th, 2012. He said Ms O’Hara kept BDSM gear in the bag and might have wanted it gone while she was in hospital.

It was put to him that the backpack had not returned to Ms O’Hara’s apartment after he left with it and that it had also ended up in the reservoir, next to her keys and glasses.

“It was very sloppy to throw it in there,” suggested a detective.

“I can’t explain that,” he said.

The gardai then read various statements to him and he asked if his wife had said anything. The detectives said they did not know, and continued with the statements.

“These are all people, who heard the story from Elaine, and they’re all different,” he said.

The gardai returned to the mobile phone evidence and noted that the cell sites used by Mr Dwyer’s work phone the evening before Ms O’Hara’s disappearance had covered Killakee.

A message the Master had sent Ms O’Hara that evening said he was going to check the spot where he’d take her the following day.

“That’s a huge leap,” remarked Mr Dwyer. “Where does it get to the bit where you say I killed somebody?”

The gardai also read out a message Ms O’Hara sent the Master in which she said she was scared of him.

“That’s awful. I’m not into stabbing. Who said that?” he asked.

“Your ex in Ballyshannon,” was the reply.

He said there was ‘a lot of hatred’ there.

The gardai put it to him that he had left Ms O’Hara’s body at the scene so he could go back and look at it.

“That’s disgusting,” he said.

He said he had contacted Ms O’Hara by text message, using his only phone.

It was put to him that his work phone had not been in contact with Ms O’Hara in 2011 and 2012.

“I can’t explain,” he said.

He was asked if he had any alibi for the evening of August 22nd and he said he would have to check.

The trial has heard that Ms O’Hara was last seen in Shanganagh, South Dublin on the evening of August 22nd 2012.

A cause of death could not be determined when her skeletal remains were discovered at Killakee on September 13th the following year.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and the jury of five women and seven men.