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Elaine O'Hara's family: 'Justice has been served but we still suffer greatly'

They also hope the case will highlight the need to be careful while socialising online.

Image: Garda Press Office

ELAINE O’HARA’S FATHER, his partner and her siblings have expressed their relief at the conviction of her killer Graham Dwyer.

In a statement issued through gardaí, the O’Haras said that despite justice being served, they still suffer Elaine’s loss and “miss her greatly”.

“This has been a difficult and traumatic two-and-half years for the family and while we respect the role of the media in providing accurate and important information, we ask that you respect our need for privacy as we attempt to move on from this heartbreaking and distressing period,” they continued.

Elaine O’Hara was reported missing by her father Frank on 23 August 2012 when she failed to turn up a volunteering job with the Tall Ships Festival. Despite numerous public appeals by gardaí, her body was not found until more than a year later in the Dublin mountains.

Following extensive investigations over the next month, Dwyer was arrested at his home in Foxrock on 17 October 2013 and charged a day later.

Earlier today, and after a gruelling trial which lasted 45 days, Dwyer was found guilty of her murder. He will be sentenced to life in prison.

His victim was laid to rest in a private funeral on 16 March last year.

Elaine O’Hara was killed by Dwyer following a sexual affair which included elements of BDSM and stabbing. They had met through an alternative website alt.com.

Her family today warned of the dangers of such relationships and urged people to “be careful when communicating using the internet and social media”.

Elaine O Hara Court Cases John O'Hara Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

They had discovered her interest in the alternative lifestyles two days after her disappearance. Her brother, John O’Hara, had found the name of the website written inside a notebook.

“While we were in the apartment, I had looked it up on my phone and I showed my sister and the garda the images on it,” he told the court. “It was a fetish lifestyle website.”

On the Saturday or Sunday, I logged on and created a username to see if I could find anything to do with Elaine. I found one with no picture.

The username on the profile was Chained Brunette but he was convinced it was his sister’s profile.

“I gave the information to the gardaí and I closed down my user profile,” he said.

On that same day, Frank O’Hara’s partner Sheila Hawkins found a black latex bodysuit in Elaine’s apartment.

“I recoiled because my hand felt this oily rubber substance,” she said. “I saw what looked like black latex.”

She said that she didn’t tell Ms O’Hara’s father at the time because ‘the man was very distressed’. However, she did note that she had knowledge of her interest in S&M from a “conversation with her father”.

Elaine O Hara Court Cases Frank O'Hara Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

During his own testimony, Mr O’Hara recalled how his daughter once told him that she was seeing a Foxrock architect who tied her up and masturbated on her.

”I was shocked,” he said, adding later in cross examination that her revelations to him had left him “shattered”.

On an emotional day in court, he described his relationship with his daughter, telling the jury he spoke to her every day and saw her three to four times a week.

He considered that he might have been a “best friend” to his daughter. When his partner had an opportunity to get a job in the UK, he said his daughter was concerned about him leaving the country. “She asked would I be going too,” he said.

Today’s full statement:

We are relieved that justice has been served for Elaine but we still suffer her loss and miss her greatly.
We hope that this case will highlight the need for people to be careful when communicating using the internet and social media.
We would like to thank An Garda Síochána for their sensitive and exemplary investigation. We would also like to thank the prosecution team, Garda Family Liaison officers, Victim Support at Court and extended family and friends for their support.
This has been a difficult and traumatic two-and-half years for the family and while we respect the role of the media in providing accurate and important information, we ask that you respect our need for privacy as we attempt to move on from this heartbreaking and distressing period.
We will not be making any further comment at this time.

Read: Graham Dwyer and his wife have released separate statements

More: ‘Fantasies from a particularly sick mind’: The judge’s opinion of Graham Dwyer

Explainer: This is the reason behind a jury’s ‘reasonable doubt’

Sentence: How long will Graham Dwyer be in prison for?

Verdict: Graham Dwyer found GUILTY of the murder of Elaine O’Hara

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