the unravelling

The grimmest of timelines: From texts and threats to the trapping of a brutal killer

The trial of Graham Dwyer took place over two months – but his web of horror began back in 2008.

THE Graham Dwyer trial was like none other ever heard in an Irish courtroom. The prosecution’s case called 194 witnesses and more than 320 exhibits. It used an array of material from text messages, videos, maps documents, computer data and cell data, to prove their case to the jury and map out the sequence of events.

But we have to begin in 2008 to understand the spiral of horror that claimed an innocent woman’s life: 

Elaine O Hara Murder Story Graham Dwyer Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

January 2008 – December 2009: Graham Dwyer sends Elaine O’Hara 847 text messages between these days. The content of these messages could not be confirmed.

25 March 2011: First message sent from an 083 number, the prepaid phone purchased by a “Goroon Caisholm” which the prosecution claims was being used by Mr Dwyer.

“Hi Elaine, hope you are keeping well.” Ms O’Hara’s response was: “Who is this please?”

March 25 – 11 April 2011: Text messages reignite relationship where BDSM (bondage, domination, sadism and masochism) was a factor.

Texts include:

I want to stick my knife in flesh while I am sexually aroused… I would like to stab a girl to death some time.
My urge to rape, stab or kill is huge. You have to help me control or satisfy it.

28 March 2011: Ms O’Hara asks: “Any news on baby?”.

Not yet, has to happen this week, any time now, when are you free next?

29 March: “You still on – wife not in labour or anything?” He replies:

So far so good. Got fake knives.

“Lucky me,” she says.

Lucky you if I don’t use the other one.

30 March:

 Went well today sir, I take it you are now a daddy again thanks for last night sir, really needed it.

31 March:

Yes, beautiful baby girl (name) glad you enjoy the other night, many more session to come, see you sometime over the weekend.

March 2011: Ms O’Hara meets Robert Cullen Jones, a man she became acquainted with through, in Dundrum Shopping Centre, before going back to Ms O’Hara’s apartment where they had sex.

July 2011: Ms O’Hara reports she had been pregnant but had lost the baby at four to five weeks.

January 2012- August 2012: CCTV footage shows Graham Dwyer entering Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside, where Elaine O’Hara lived nine times.

[13 and 15 August footage showed Mr Dwyer carrying a backpack. The prosecution claimed the backpack recovered from the Vartry reservoir in October 2013 is the same bag.]

ttttt Screengrab / Screengrab / /

May 2012: Ms O’Hara meets another man from

14 July 2012: Admission note to Edmondsbury Hospital says Ms O’Hara had contacted them about her thoughts of hanging herself.

eds Edmondsbury Hospital Google Maps Google Maps

21 August: Ms O’Hara texts the 083 number to say that she couldn’t wait to get out, but that she was scared that she wouldn’t be able to cope.

The reply to that message tells her that “if it doesn’t work out this time”, “the way out is through me”.

Are you happy to go on like this forever?

21 Aug 2012: A Buck Special hunting knife is delivered to Graham Dwyer’s office on Lower Baggot Street, marked as private and confidential, as per the request of the customer.

22 August 2012: Elaine O’Hara is discharged from Edmondsbury Hospital. She was last seen by a jogger at 5.45pm in a nearby park. She had visited the graveyard earlier that day with her father. She spoke briefly to the runner, asking for directions to a pedestrian bridge over a railway tracks.

Elaine O Hara Court Cases Frank O'Hara, father of Elaine O'Hara. Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

23 August 2012: Her father is concerned Elaine did not meet his partner to get a lift to the Tall Ships Festival which she had volunteered to take part in. He presumes she was running late and went straight in without her phone.

He texts her later in the evening asking: “Are you alive?” He later tells the court that it was something he would say to his children if they had not been in contact with him.

24 August 2012: Elaine’s father reports his daughter missing to gardaí. Detective Garda Ultan Sherlock carries out a preliminary search of her apartment and finds chains, a black latex suit and a rope. A name of a BDSM website was found written in Ms O’Hara’s diary. Her brother looked up the site and said he found the profile he believed belonged to his sister.

Aug 31 2012: ‘The Gorean Lifestyle: A Woman’s Right is Slave” document is among the items found during search of Elaine’s home.

10 September 2013: Three fishermen notice a rope and something shiny in the water near Roundwood, County Wicklow and fish them out. Other items recovered include a double set of handcuffs, a ball gag, a blindfold, a vest, bondage cuffs with restraints and hoodie. 

11 September 2013: Local fisherman William Fegan returns to the bridge over the Vartry reservoir and brings the items to Roundwood Garda Station where he hands them over to Garda James O’Donoghue.

13 September 2013: Dog walker discovers skeletal remains of Elaine O’Hara found at Killakee in the Dublin mountains above Rathfarnham on 13 September.

Elaine O Hara Body found at Kilakee Mountains Gardai and members of the technical bureau pictured at the scene where human remains of Elaine O'Hara. Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

16 September 2013: Garda James O’Donoghue returns to bridge and recovers a set of keys, a large black handed kitchen knife, a leather bondage mask, a rusty chain with a bull ring and an inhaler.

[Loyalty cards on the keys discovered were later traced to then missing woman Elaine O'Hara]

17 October 2013: Just before 7am, gardaí arrive at Graham Dwyer’s door. He was arrested on suspicion of murdering Elaine O’Hara. His Foxrock home was searched and items of interest were seized. Graham Dwyer was interviewed five times over 24 hours.

18 October 2013: Graham Dwyer is charged with the murder of Elaine O’Hara.

16 March 2014: Elaine O’Hara is laid to rest.

19 January 2014: Jury of seven men and five women sworn in for trial.

Read’s full coverage of the trial here>>>>>

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