Graham Dwyer trial: Architect found guilty of murder of Elaine O'Hara

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Media captionGraham Dwyer denied murdering Elaine O'Hara in August 2012, as Rick Faragher reports

A sadomasochistic killer who filmed his victim faces a life sentence after being found guilty of her murder in the Republic of Ireland.

Graham Dwyer, 42, from Foxrock in south Dublin, had denied the murder of Elaine O'Hara but was convicted by unanimous verdict at the Central Criminal Court.

The remains of the 36-year-old childcare worker were found in the Dublin mountains in September 2013.

Her family said they were "relieved that justice has been served".


They were forced to endure weeks of disturbing evidence about the lifestyle of her killer, who had been filmed stabbing sexual partners.

During the trial, the married father admitted having an affair with his vulnerable victim, who he met through a website.

Ms O'Hara's family said: "We hope that this case will highlight the need for people to be careful when communicating using the internet and social media."

She was last seen on 22 August 2012, the day of her murder and had been missing for more than a year before her remains were discovered.

Image copyright Garda
Image caption Elaine O'Hara, a vulnerable childcare worker, met her killer through a website

The O'Hara family said they had been through a "difficult and traumatic two-and-a-half years" since her disappearance and "still suffer her loss and miss her greatly".

The judge had said 40 days of evidence, stretching back over five years, boiled down to what happened in the three hours after Ms O'Hara vanished.

He told the seven men and five women on the jury they could take as long or as short a time as they needed to reach "a conscientious and properly considered verdict".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Her skeletal remains were found on Kilakee Mountain in Rathfarnham on 13 September 2013, the day of Dwyer's birthday

Sentencing and victim impact statements in the trial will be dealt with on 20 April. Dwyer has been remanded in custody.

The jury found that he stabbed Ms O'Hara to death on Kilakee Mountain in Rathfarnham on 22 August, 2012, the day she left a psychiatric hospital.

He sent her a series of texts in the days leading up to the killing.


Dwyer told her she would be punished for trying to kill herself without him.

He said she had a "big punishment" coming up, getting stabbed, and he told her to leave her iPhone at home, park her car at Shanganagh Park, make her way across the railway bridge, and head to the shore and wait.

Ms O'Hara was last seen there on 22 August 2012, making her way across the bridge.

Her skeletal remains were found on Kilakee Mountain in Rathfarnham on 13 September 2013, the day of Dwyer's birthday.

Three days after that, her keys and other items were found in Vartry Reservoir in Roundwood, which had dried up due to a heatwave.

Dwyer was arrested on 17 October 2013 and has been in custody ever since.

'Disgusting fantasies'

Ms O'Hara first came into contact with Dwyer in 2007 through a website.

The defence case was that documents found on a hard drive at Dwyer's home describing the rape and killing of women in explicit and horrific detail, was all fantasy.

However, the prosecution said this was a man who had the "most extraordinary and disgusting fantasies and who went about making them real".

The court heard Dwyer sent more than 800 text messages to Ms O'Hara between January 2008 and December 2009.

The relationship appeared to end in 2009, but on 25 March, 2011 Dwyer initiated contact again.

He bought a pay as you go mobile phone and started texting Ms O'Hara.

'Astonishing similarity'

Text messages from an 083 phone and an 086 phone were central to the prosecution case.

More than 2,500 texts exchanged over 18 months, were read to the jury over two and half days.

Mr Dwyer denied the phones were his.

However, the jury heard the person using them bore an "astonishing similarity" to aspects of his life.

The texts repeated the same themes again and again.

Mr Dwyer wanted Elaine O'Hara to find someone for him to stab. He wanted her to let him stab her.

After the ruling, his wife Gemma Dwyer released a statement noting the guilty verdict and appealing for her family's privacy to be respected.

She said her family's "thoughts and condolences are with the O'Hara family for the grief and pain they are suffering".

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