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Graham Dwyer Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
on trial

Court hears the text messages sent on the day Elaine O'Hara was last seen alive

Evidence was heard on the 35th day of the architect’s murder trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Updated 11.02pm

HOURS BEFORE SHE was last seen alive, Elaine O’Hara is alleged to have texted the man the State claims was Graham Dwyer to tell him she was scared of him and knew her life was in his hands every time they met.

Mr Dwyer is also alleged to have previously told Ms O’Hara that he would get her pregnant if she helped him stab someone to death.

His trial was hearing the content of text messages sent between her iPhone and another phone, and between two unregistered phones recovered from a reservoir during the investigation into the Dubliner’s death.

The evidence was heard today on the 35th 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.

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.

Crime and policing analyst Sarah Skedd gave evidence today of text messages sent between two phones in the week before Mr Dwyer is alleged to have murdered Ms O’Hara.

The trial has already heard that the Nokias had been purchased together and used only to contact each other. They were found in Vartry Reservoir in late 2013, along with keys to Ms O’Hara’s car.

Each had only the phone number of the other phone saved in its contacts: SLV and MSTR. The State has referred to them as the Master phone and Slave phone and alleges that they were being used by the accused and the deceased.

Text messages

Ms Skedd said text messages from 14 August to 22 August were recovered from the phones, a period when Ms O’Hara was a patient in a mental health hospital.

The jury was told that the Master phone texted the Slave phone at the start of that time, asking: “Am I right in thinking you don’t want to die anymore?”

Graham Dwyer case PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

A text from the Slave phone to the Master phone one morning read: “I’m sorry I made you so mad.”

“You’ll have to take a punishment,” was the reply. “If anything happened to you, who knows about me?”

“No-one knows your name and no-one knows about you really,” replied the Slave phone. “They know I’m into BSM and that I meet people.”

“OK, let’s keep it that way. If I ever meet your neighbour, I’m your brother, David, ok?” wrote the Master phone user.

The Slave phone user responded that she had already told the girl next door that he was a friend.

“Would she make a good victim for me?” he asked.

“Too close to home,” she replied.

“Ok. We will start going on outdoor walks for play and hunting,” he wrote.

“Sir, do I have to come?” she asked.

“Yes, help me plan it. You won’t be there… but I want to do it this year,” he replied.

“Every time I think about it, sir, I want to heave,” she wrote.

“Just think about me being happy doing it. It’s what I like” he replied. “If you were any good, you would help me find her, hold her down while I kill her.”

She later asked him if he was going to stab her.

“Yes, I’m going to make you bleed,” he wrote.

“Nice and deep in your guts,” he wrote later.

“Swift and brutal. Might even kill you”

The Slave phone user texted on 16 August that she was scared the punishment would go on a long time.

“No,” replied the Master. “Swift and brutal. Might even kill you.”

The Master sent the following text on the morning of 17 August: “Did a huge walk up the Dublin Mountains yesterday. Plenty of lonely hill walkers up there.”

Graham Dwyer case PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

He texted her later to make sure she kept the following Wednesday evening free for her master.

“I’m not being stabbed,” she wrote on Monday 20 August.

“Ok, but you must take some sort of punishment,” he wrote, giving her four options, including being choked unconscious.

“Sir, I’ll take stabbing,” she replied.

“Ok, but I must see blood… And I want to do it outdoors,” he wrote.

“I’m afraid if outdoors, you might kill me,” she said.

“I won’t kill you,” he replied. “If I was, it would be indoors hanging once you are chained up.”

She asked if he could keep the visual marks to a minimum, that she could cover her wrists and arms, but not her neck.

“Don’t worry. I won’t stab you in the neck,” he wrote.

He texted her one morning that she must be punished for trying to kill herself without him.

“I’m going to get blood on my knife for this, a lot of blood,” he wrote.

“You need to get out of hospital and serve me,” he wrote on another occasion.

“I’m scared sir. I’m scared I won’t be able to cope and serve out my punishment,” she texted later.

“If it doesn’t work out this time, the way out is through me,” he wrote. “It has to be me doing it. I’m ready for it.”

She said it was not that simple.

“All you do is tell me you want out, get into bed and wait – max 12 hours,” he wrote.

She asked that they forget about it for now.

“Are you happy going on like this forever?” he asked.

“Sir, please stop,” she replied.

“I will get into trouble if I don’t do it at this stage,” he wrote.

“It’s suicide. No-one will look into it,” she said.

“You’re being f***ing selfish,” she wrote later. “I just want to try again… I want to try have a normal life without talking and thinking about that. Please let me.”

He agreed with her that she was in trouble for what she had just said.

“You have a big punishment coming up, getting stabbed in the guts,” he wrote.

The texts continued on 21 August, the day before Ms O’Hara was discharged from hospital.

“I know you will be well bound and gagged, tied to a tree deep in a forest. I have a spot picked out,” he wrote.

She wrote that she wouldn’t leave her apartment, that he would have to drag her out.

“You will do what you are f***ing told,” he wrote. “Or I will double punishment or hang you.”

“I found a really remote place,” he added. “No-one will find us.”

She asked if she had to be naked.

“Yes, you do. I don’t want blood all over your clothes.”

“Now I’m terrified,” she wrote.

“Trust me, it will be exciting,” he said.

He told her that he would want her at 5.30pm the following day.

“Do I have to drive, sir?” she asked.

“A bit, yes,” he replied.

“Now, I’m really scared,” she wrote.

“Don’t be scared,” he wrote.

She later assured him that he hadn’t come up in her counselling session.

“That’s good. No-one should know about me,” he wrote. “They would still find me in your emails and way back in your alt history. So relax.”

The last message sent from the Master to the Slave phone on August 21st was at 5pm. It read: “I’m heading to the spot now to double check.”

Ms Skedd confirmed that the Master phone used a cell called Fitzwilliam close to Mr Dwyer’s workplace to send that message.

Seán Guerin SC, prosecuting, asked for the jury to be shown a map of mobile phone cell sites that Mr Dwyer’s work phone used that evening.

Ms Skedd agreed that his work phone had used a cell site at Edmondstown Golf Course just inside the M50 at 6.26pm. She confirmed that this cell’s coverage plot extended up Killakee Mountain.

Text messages on 22 August

She then moved on to the text messages sent between the two Nokia phones on 22 August 2012, the day of the alleged murder.

The Slave phone sent a text to the Master phone at 8am that Wednesday.

“This place, although a pain in the ass at times, is safe because I know what’s coming and I don’t want to leave,” she wrote.

“I’m just so scared. Do you know, sir, that I’m scared of you? You have this hold over me,” she added.

“Do not fear death,” he wrote.

“Please don’t mention killing for a while, just until I settle back into life,” she asked.

“But, tonight’s punishment will be like me pretending to do someone for real,” he wrote.

“It’s important to me that you feel it’s my right to take my slave’s life if I want to,” he continued. “Every time I stab or strangle you, I want you to think this is it and every time I let you live, you owe me your life and are grateful and worship me,” he added.

“I know my life is in your hands… every time we meet,” she wrote.

She sent a text around midday to say she had got out earlier than expected, was on her way home and to ask if he had any instructions.

He told her to wear loose clothes and footwear for mud.

“Make sure you are fed. Take painkiller,” he added. “You will be in a lot of pain later and next few days.”

She asked if it would be bad.

“You will have stab wounds. You know the drill. The last few didn’t bleed. These will,” he wrote.

She asked how many there would be and he replied: ‘As many as I like’.

“Park at Shanganagh Cemetery at 5.30,” he wrote. “Leave your iPhone at home. Just bring slave phone and keys. You will get further instructions there.”

She asked if they were still going to do it if it was raining and if he was coming back to her place afterwards.

“Yes, if it’s raining and no, I won’t be back at your place,” he replied.

“Empty yourself and become nothing. You are property and a piece of slave meat,” he wrote.

Final messages

She asked at 4.50pm if she could wear socks and bring her inhaler, and said that she hadn’t time to eat.

“Yes to socks. Leave inhaler in car,” he replied. “More painful getting stabbed on empty stomach. Suit yourself.”

She sent a text at 5.22pm to say she was there.

“Ok, take only keys and slave phone. Make your way on foot to park next door,” he wrote.

She pleaded with him to allow her to take her inhaler and he agreed.

“Cross railway bridge into next park near cliffs,” he wrote, with her updating him on her location throughout.

“Look for railway footbridge,” he continued. “Cross bridge and head for opposite end of park, near steps to sea.”

She texted him to say she was at the steps.

“Go down to shore and wait,” he wrote at 6pm, the final communication between the two phones.

Ms Skedd confirmed that, until 4.52pm, the Master phone had been using a cell site close to a phone mast being used by Mr Dwyer’s phone at 4.54pm. Both cells pointed in the direction of Mr Dwyer’s Baggot Street workplace.

The jury was given a map showing the cell sites used by the Master phone from then until 6pm. They started in the south of Dublin City and continued along the N11 to a mast pointed towards Shanganagh.

Earlier messages

The jury earlier heard the content of text messages sent between Ms O’Hara’s iPhone and a 083 phone that the State says the accused purchased in the name of Goroon Caisholm on 25 March 2011.

The person using the 083 phone texted Ms O’Hara on the evening of 29 July 2011 to tell her to boil knives in preparation for a punishment he was going to give her the following day.

“You can die from blood loss but not an infection,” he wrote.

“Please don’t let me die! Please don’t kill me, please. Sir, I don’t want to die,” she replied. “I’m scared you’re going to kill me.”

He told her she wouldn’t die.

He texted her the following evening to ‘assume the position’ and texted her less than an hour later to send him pictures of her wounds.

She said she would and apologised.

“I will miss you,” she wrote. “Sir, I always tried my best. I know I made you mad a lot but it wasn’t my intention.”

“I would drop everything for a baby”

He texted her the following day that he was sorry to lose her.

“Did you say I could kill you as long as I didn’t tell you when it was coming?” he asked.

“I don’t think I said that,” she replied.

“I will miss you sir, but if I’m ever to find someone and have kids, which is what I really want, I need to be free of stabs,” she wrote. “Unless you want to give me a child, sir?”

He said he would, but wouldn’t be around to raise or support it.

“I’ll give you one if you want, but they must never know,” he added.

“Not hard to do, as I really don’t know you,” she replied.

He asked her when she wanted to get pregnant and she said whenever she could.

He pointed to her work and college commitments.

“I would drop everything for a baby,” she replied.

“Ok, a life for a life. Help me take one and I’ll give you one,” he wrote.

“Sure, you set it up,” she replied.

She texted him on 3 August 2011 to ask if he had meant what he had said.

“Yes,” he replied. “It’s your reward for helping me stab a girl to death.”

He said they needed new, untraceable pay-as-you-go phones and fake names.

The auctioneer

He texted her later to say he had found an empty house for sale in Willow Park, Druids Valley, Cabinteely. He gave the name of the female auctioneer as Ms Quinn. Rowena Quinn gave evidence earlier in the trial that she was selling a house there.

Ms O’Hara texted later that she thought it was too close to home and to her work.

He didn’t agree and said he would knock Quinn out with a hammer before stabbing her.

“Then back to yours to celebrate and knock you up,” he wrote.

However, he agreed with her concerns about being traced by technology and suggested a random stabbing instead.

She later expressed doubts about him getting away with murder.

“I will,” he wrote. “No one ever caught for Raonaid Murray or homeless woman in Phoenix Park.”

Ms Skedd has now detailed more than 2600 messages recovered from various devices in the investigation and the defence has begun cross examining her.

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

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

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

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

Originally published 3.47pm

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