sadistic killer | 

Crime Long Read: The twisted secrets of sadistic killer Graham Dwyer - Part 2

Each time Elaine refused, he would tell her that she would have to die instead... Her choice was to let him kill her or to help him find a victim...

Killer Graham Dwyer.

Niamh O'Connor

The second part of the Graham Dwyer Long Read reveals Dwyer's sick fantasies about murdering his vulnerable victim.

  • Suicides

"I considered finding someone suicidal or terminally ill, or both, someone with no ties, who needed the courage to die that I could provide. I knew there were many out there - 400 to 500 suicides a year in a small country with only 4 million people.

"…When she first came into my life I knew her only as 'Cassie'.

"I carefully undressed and moved my clothes to a clean place in a plastic bag. She did not need to see the shovel, or bags of lime and bottles of bleach I had stored. I was trying to make it as perfect for her as I could. She knew the cameras were on us, but I had moved them back so they wouldn't interfere with what was going to take place.

"The last time we embraced, we kissed passionately and made love in stark contrast to the brutal rape she would endure soon, and worse. She cried as she rode me and I stroked her hair and her tears away trying not to mess her perfect makeup. She was so beautiful, so perfect, she turned her back to me when we were finished, and I put on my mask and gloves.

"…She was lying on her back, all beautiful and sexy, arms spread out, her breasts heaving under her bra. I sliced the bra open in the middle and marveled at her magnificent t**s. I sat on her thighs and felt her trying to move beneath me as she struggled when I opened them like we had discussed.

"I would kill her harder if she fought back and she started her last fight even though we both knew she would lose. I entered her roughly. She was hot and wet and tighter than before, her excitement and fear had her wired and jumpy as I raped her. This made me even harder, my knuckles whitened as I tightened my grip harder in my left hand.

"The cameras were rolling. The life was glinting in the blade as I raised it, and her eyes fixed on mine. We both froze for what seemed like an eternity but probably was only a few seconds and she closed her eyes and I sank the knife deep into her belly about two inches above her belly button. She gasped and cried out. We both looked at the knife in my hand with the blade deep in her belly with the blood gurgling around her belly. My c**k was thrusting harder now driven on by the thrusting of my knife. I withdrew it from her belly, her skin following the bloody slurping sound and left the most perfect oval stab wound. Beautiful.

"I stabbed her again harder and again and again. She gasped each time as the knife went in and out of her perfect body, and her life blood flowed down her sides, knowing there wasn't much time left. I dragged her hair with my right hand, knife in my left and leaned in close to her face as we gazed into each other's eyes.

"I could feel her orgasm coming. Her breathing was quickening now, partly due to shock and blood loss, and partly due to the climax, which was quickly approaching. I rested the knife on her throat, she could feel its coolness despite it dripping with blood, and I reached down with my left hand to rub her hard.

"I picked up the knife again. I looked into her eyes for the last living time and pulled her hair back hard violently exposing her beautiful throat, glistening with sweat, her veins pulsing and heaving deeper receive my blade.

"I pushed the knife deep in her jugular and drew it across as she screamed in pain and orgasmed while a jet of dark blood sprayed across my face covering the ceiling and walls that would soon be in flames.

"She was dying now as her orgasm passed and the pulses of blood from her slit throat grew weaker and weaker. I could feel her slipping away as her body went quieter and quieter, twitching and gurgling, air escaping from impossible places.

"In my grief I stabbed her over and over all across her chest, leaving the handle protruding from her right breast. After I stabbed her through the heart and stabbed her belly another 20-30 times there was a ruined mess of guts and bloody burst organs.

"After about 10-15 minutes, I sat beside her holding her hands. No longer bound, she was finally free. She was still warm and leaking blood. I rolled her onto her front… closed her eyes and mounted her again from behind. I held my bloodied knife in my hand and rode her hard, stabbing her lower back as I f**ked her corpse, stabbing her up high between her shoulder blades as I came, and buried my head into her matted hair.

"My blade jammed between her vertebrae, breaking off the tip, and I reached under her head lifting her by the hair and slit her throat from ear to ear, higher up than where I earlier. I reached in and pulled her tongue through the slit a 'Columbian neck tie'.

"… I rolled the mattress around the body all sexy and stabbed, her throat slit, the knife gone. I tied her body into the mattress and wrapped the whole thing carefully in plastic and loaded it into car.

"It was a short drive to the spot where I had prepared her grave, a place I would visit many times, and ask forgiveness for what I had done."

Graham Dwyer’s bid for freedom has received a boost from the Court of Justice for the European Union. Photo: Gary Ashe

  • 8. MIRACLE #4:

SARAH SKEDD had a degree in mathematics, a post-grad qualification in analytics and worked as a civilian crime and policing analyst in Garda HQ.

She'd been tasked with helping to identify the psychopath whom the victim, Elaine O'Hara, was calling 'Sir' in text message exchanges.

Elaine had her iPhone synced to her computer, meaning even messages that had been deleted from the phone could be retrieved. Some 2,344 text were readable. They revealed disturbing contact with someone listed as 'David' (083 1** ***4) in her contacts.

Gardaí had since established that David's 083-number was registered to a 'Goroon Caisholm' with an address in Oak Lawn, Clerihan, Tipperary. It had been bought as a prepaid Nokia 2730 on March 25, 2011 at 15:22 in a shop on Grafton Street.

The contact number listed for Goroon was 086 2** ***7 and he had made contact with Elaine within a couple of hours of the purchase, asking to start over. Elaine had texted back: 'I'm not into blood anymore.'

He'd persisted: 'So no more dark thoughts?'

'Always have dark thoughts but I am able to cope with them now,' she replied.

Subsequent texts would revealed the extent of the man's bloodlust and determination to kill; he would at various times offer to give Elaine a baby in return for her helping him lure a victim to her death (he suggested an estate agent, a prostitute and an Asian woman who lived in Elaine's block and whose remains he plotted to carry out in a suitcase).

'What I want from u regarding the stabbing: 1) Be enthusiastic and encourage me, after all, it saves u from getting stabbed if its someone else; 2) Think of places it might be easy to do it; 3) Work on the details of my ideas; 4) Prepare yourself for taking part, I might enjoy holding her down and watch u stab her a bit; 5) Outdoor locations - woods, parks, graveyards; 6) Indoor locations, empty house, prostitutes apartment, your apartment, a car? Think.'

Each time Elaine refused, he would tell her that she would have to die instead. Her choice was to let him kill her or to help him find a victim.

The late Elaine O'Hara

'You will never kill me against my will. You have left too much evidence in my place. I am not going to clean' she texted in a rare show of defiance.

'Looking forward to seeing your research on finding me a victim,' he later persisted.

'What the hell do you think I'm doing?' she texted back: 'Not doing it. Research to hell. No play, no research.'

The onslaught of manipulation, lies and terror tactics was relentless, though.

Sarah focused on the cell analysis showing which masts the Goroon/David/Sir phone was pinging off and when. She believed, based on the activity, that the user was someone who lived in south Dublin and worked in the south city centre. But so did a lot of people.

The phone also had links to a water-damaged Nokia, which had been found by members of the sub aqua team in a follow-up search of the reservoir along with a pair of glasses belonging to Elaine and more bondage gear.

The SIM inside - 086 17* ***1 - had been cleaned and dried out. It had only one contact listed in its directory (086 17* ***6) and saved under the name 'Mstr'. Some texts could be retrieved and their content suggested that Goroon/ David/ Sir owned it too. The Mstr number was listed in Elaine's iPhone as 'David S 2'.

The two Nokias were purchased in the same Grafton Street store that Goroon had purchased his device on November 30, 2011.

Sarah honed in on a date - July 4, 2012 - when the Mstr phone was pinging off masts in Galway and Dublin within the space of two hours 11 minutes. She inferred that 'Sir' must have used the M6 and M4 motorway toll-plazas to cover the distance in such a short amount of time.

She filtered through the registration of vehicles passing through the tolls, looking for men who were south Dublin resident with a city centre workplace.

The owner of a blue Audi TT, registration 99 G 11850 seemed to fit the profile. His name was Graham Dwyer and he lived at 6 Kerrymount Close, Foxrock. His work details also happened to be on the PULSE system because he had reported a crime. He worked for an architect's firm based on Lower Baggot Street.

Graham Dwyer also happened to have the exact same phone number (bar the prefix) that Goroon had given as a contact. It would also emerge that his sister lived in Clerihan, Co Tipperary, where Goroon also supposedly lived. Even the name Goroon Caisholm sounded a lot like a Gordon Chisholm, who was an architect and former associate of Dwyer's.

Dwyer's work phone (087 2** ***7) was analysed. It had been pinging off the same cell sites as the Goroon and 'Mstr' phones from Limerick to Donegal. On the day before Elaine's disappeared, Dwyer's work phone was on Killakee Mountain.

The coincidences didn't stop there. Texts exchanged with Elaine revealed that just like Graham Dwyer, the individual variously called Goroon/ David/ Sir/ Mstr had:

  • Celebrated the birth of a daughter born on the same day;
  • Placed fifth in a mobile aeroplane club's flying competition (Dwyer was a member of the Roundwood model aeroplane club) on the same day;
  • Had been hit by a 15 per cent pay cut at the same time;
  • Had visited the Polish embassy on the same day;
  • Had emailed a tattoo artist about a tattoo in an intimate area at the same time 'Sir' was ordering his 'Slave' to get one on her pubic area.
  • Shared a preference for wearing polo- necks;
  • Had to repair a car for the same amount.

As far as the laws of mathematical probability were concerned, Graham Dwyer was the prime suspect.

Now, all the gardai had to do was put the evidence to him.


October 7, 2013

Detective Sergeant Peter Woods, accompanied by a team of detectives, knocked at Graham Dwyer's door at 07:06 on October 17, 2013, to execute arrest and search warrants.

The 41-year-old architect appeared almost immediately behind the glass, still in his pyjama bottoms. He was a short man, with a jowly neck and hooded blue eyes.

As Dwyer slid the door open, Woods held up his ID and introduced himself, adding, 'Can I come in?'

Dwyer stepped aside slowly.

His petite, blonde-haired wife appeared in the hallway and asked what was going on. She was advised she would have to leave with the children as the house was about to be searched. She was taken aback.

'I'm arresting you on suspicion of the murder of Elaine O'Hara,' Woods said.

In a pronounced south Dublin accent, the Cork man complained that he couldn't afford a solicitor when Woods advised he would need one.

In Blackrock Garda Station, the member on duty, DS Gordon Woulfe, opened a custody record as per the treatment of persons in custody regulations.

It was 7.41.

Woulfe took details of Dwyer's name, address, phone number and then asked if he had any nicknames.

'Smiler,' Dwyer responded, staring.

'Date of birth?' Woulfe asked.



'5ft 10ins?'

It was DS Woulfe's turn to stare in surprise.

Later in the interview room, Dwyer appeared more concerned that the newspapers might say 'architect arrested for murder' than the charges he was facing.

'You have big decisions to make,' Woods replied. 'Don't make them based on your standing in the community.'

On the wall to Dwyer's left, five images of mobile phones were on display. A graph detailed their interaction.

To Dwyer's right, CCTV stills showed him in Elaine's apartment block, Belarmine Plaza, on nine separate occasions. In one of them, he could clearly be seen leaving with the black and red rucksack on his back - just like one that had been found in the reservoir containing Elaine's belongings. In another he was standing with Elaine O'Hara waiting for the lift.

'I'm glad I'm not murdering anyone in any of those photographs,' Dwyer commented.

Peter Woods asked him if he ever went on to adult websites.

'I can see why you knocked on my door, that's better,' Dwyer said.

The same condescending attitude came through during his ongoing denials.

Woods asked Dwyer what kind of films he liked to download on his phone and computer, both of which had been seized during his arrest.

'Horror,' he said eventually.

'I wouldn't say it was horror,' Woods remarked. 'Describe it to me.'

'Erotic horror, it's sort of art to do with horror. Please stop, I'm thinking of my wife and kids. My private life is my private life.'

But Dwyer's devices had revealed that he'd recently watched a woman being stabbed to death.

'I am mortified,' he said. 'I didn't kill anybody. I'm not guilty of any crime.'

Woods asked how he could get sexual pleasure from the subject matter.

'I believe you are trying to shock me, upset me,' Dwyer responded.

Woods read aloud excerpts from the texts between 'Sir' and Elaine.

'This is really not turning me on,' Dwyer said. 'Do you want to check?'

As Woods read the 'master' texts about murdering Elaine in the woods, Dwyer reacted, 'You said it excites me. Do I have an erection?'

Woods put it to him that DNA from a buccal (cheek cell) swab had matched semen stains on Elaine's mattress, which was also punctured with multiple stab cuts.

'I will not air my dirty laundry here, if it's going beyond here,' Dwyer said. 'I think I know what's coming next. I don't want my wife hurt. I know I did not murder anyone.'

DS Woods changed tack. Gardai had travelled to Donegal and had interviewed Dwyer's ex-partner, Emer McShea.

'She would not be friendly to me,' the suspect said.

Peter Woods read Dwyer his former partner's statement in which she said they had met in college in the early nineties and she had given birth to their son in 1992. She'd revealed that in 1994, Dwyer had confided in her that he fantasised about stabbing a woman during sex. After that he had started taking a kitchen knife into the bedroom and leaving it on the floor. Some weeks later he began holding it in his left hand during sex.

'Do you want to say something?' Woods prompted.

'I'd say she enjoyed that, she's delighted I'm in trouble.'

Later, it would emerge that he had stalked and terrorised his ex-partner in a campaign of harassment that lasted more than a decade.

'Is she telling lies about you pretending to stab someone during sex?' Woods asked.

'Ask my wife.' Then, equally hastily, 'Don't ask my wife. Please get back to the murder.'

Faced with the relentless forensic and circumstantial evidence piling up against him, Dwyer finally admitted how he knew Elaine.

'She had some mental health problems... She wanted to be chained all the time.'

'What did you meet her for?'

'I suppose I wanted to meet her because I was stuck… I was hoping to try sex, but she wasn't very attractive. She would start to describe what she wanted to do and I would do it.

"She wanted to be chained up, tied up. There came a point where she cut herself, and there was fresh blood. I am fascinated with all that, but it is not a turn on.'

'Was it all about power, was that the ultimate?' Woods pressed. The level-4 interrogator - the highest tier - was so skilled at eliciting information in interview situations that he lectured on technique to new recruits in Templemore Garda Training College.

'No, the ultimate thing for Elaine is she wanted to be kept all day in a cage with a bowl of water. She was scarred from head to toe,' Dwyer said.

Woods asked what was in it for him.

'It's a perfect scenario, you wouldn't have to go through all the bullshit (of dating).'

'Did she ask you to do anything else?'

'At one stage she asked me if I would kill her,' Dwyer said.

  • 10: The Trial

January 19, 2015

The jury in the trial of Graham Dwyer was sworn in on January 19, 2015, after a warning from Judge Paul Carney - he asked that they indicate in advance if they were squeamish.

The trial, presided over by Judge Tony Hunt following Carney's retirement, would continue until March 27, by which time the evidence of 197 witnesses had been heard and 362 items had been entered as exhibits.

Graham Dwyer pleaded not guilty.

Members of the public had to be excluded from the court when 11 videos, recovered from Dwyer's computers and storage devices, were played in court because they were so graphic in nature.

In the first clip, Dwyer pretended to stab himself in the leg, then said groggily: 'I'm just after waking up from having knocked myself out with chloroform. I have very little recollection of what happened. I remember exhaling out and getting a warning sign and waking up with a pounding noise in my head, like a headache and a loud noise.'

Other movie clips showed him having sex with Elaine O'Hara and tightening a plastic bag over her head with a plastic cable, causing her to go limp and fall to one side.

He'd also filmed himself stabbing Elaine while masturbating over her. The muffled sounds she made while being knifed - she had duct tape over her mouth - were horrific. Dwyer dismissed her agonised cries by saying, 'Shhh, shhh, it's not that bad.'

Other videos showed Dwyer using knives during sex with other women.

One, entitled 'Attempted Breast Stab', featured a woman whose identity was obscured and whose hands were bound by handcuffs.

Another video showed him holding his knife to a woman's neck during sex.

Graham Dwyer's wife, Gemma, testified for the State. She struggled with her composure as she answered questions about the man she'd met studying in Bolton Street DIT in the Nineties.

However, when it came to evidence about a garden spade found near Elaine's remains in September 2013, she was resolute.

'It's the spade from our garden,' she said flatly.

She'd noticed it was gone because she used it to clean up dog dirt.

It could be seen in a photo taken in her back garden and had the same orangey-red paint spatters near the handle caused when Graham had painted the shed and fence in wood preserve and 'it got everywhere' as one found near Elaine's remains.

She broke down when asked about a letter her husband had sent from prison, dated February 28, 2014, telling her not to believe the gardai and admitting that he did know 'that awful girl'. He also wrote that he believed the killer liked Real Madrid and wore pink underwear.

An American woman called Darci Day also testified for the State through a video link. She had been sexually abused as a child and had 'struggled' she explained.

Using the name 'Cassie' she'd fantasised about dying online, which was where she'd met Graham Dwyer. They sent each other poetry and he sent her diagrams of the arteries in question so he would not miss. He'd told her about Elaine O'Hara and claimed she wanted him to do the same.

Graham Dwyer did not take the stand. When the jury returned with a guilty of murder verdict on the afternoon of March 27, 2015, he showed no emotion.

Incredibly, he released a statement after the trial, to thank his legal team and family, friends and colleagues for their 'unwavering support'.

'To the members of the media, I am grateful for the privacy you have afforded both my family and people close to me during the trial, I now respectfully ask that you continue to respect their privacy and I confirm that there will be no further comment by my family or myself concerning this case whatsoever,' he added.

There was no mention of Elaine O'Hara.

Graham Dwyer is serving out his life sentence in the Midlands Prison. The effect of the European Court of Justice ruling that mobile phone data retention and access is illegal could now take another seven years to resolve in the courts. Experts believe it is extremely unlikely that it will prove enough to secure his release given the extensive forensic and circumstantial evidence in the case.

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