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Graham Dwyer trial: Heavy metal chains and document about being a slave found in Elaine O'Hara's apartment

The court also heard today from the woman who discovered Elaine O’Hara’s remains in the Dublin Mountains.

Elaine O'Hara
Elaine O'Hara
Image: Garda Press Office

THE JURY IN the Graham Dwyer trial has heard that a document about a ‘slave’ lifestyle for women, and two large metal chains were found in Elaine O’Hara’s home shortly after her disappearance in August 2012.

The jury also heard from the woman who found her jaw bone while walking her dogs in the Dublin Mountains a year later.

The evidence was heard today on the fourth day of the 42-year-old’s trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Dwyer, an architect, is charged with 36-year-old Ms O’Hara’s murder in the Dublin Mountains on 22 August 2012, hours after the childcare worker was discharged from hospital, where she had been a psychiatric patient.

The Cork-born father of two of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, Dublin has pleaded not guilty to murdering the Dubliner on that date at Killakee, Rathfarnham.

What was found 

Retired Detective Garda Ultan Sherlock testified that he accompanied members of the O’Hara family to Ms O’Hara’s home at Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside on 24 August 2012.

He said he was conducting a cursory search to see if he could obtain any information.

Pictured on the fourth day of the murder Retired Detective Garda Ultan Sherlock at the court today Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

He said he found two particularly heavy, metal chains in a locker beside Ms O’Hara’s bed.

“In the living room, there was a black, PVC body suit and also a rope,” he said.

He recalled that Ms O’Hara’s brother, John O’Hara, also showed him images on a website on his phone, having found the web address written in a diary there. He testified that the images seemed to have been of S&M activity.

“There were handwritten words written beside the web address,” he said, explaining that he thought these words were Chartered Brunette, but hadn’t written them down.

Under cross examination by Ronan Kennedy BL, defending, he said that the chains he found were large.

“It did strike me as odd that they were in the bedside locker,” he agreed.

When asked if he found it odd that there was a rope in the living room, he replied: “I did, somewhat.”

However, he said it was similar to a washing line. Mr Kennedy then asked for the rope to be produced but it wasn’t available in court at the time.

However, the retired detective examined some large chains in the witness box.

“All I can say is they’re similar to what I saw,” he said.

He also agreed that John O’Hara was of the opinion that the words written beside the website were ‘Chained Brunette’.

He said he hadn’t asked the family any particular questions about S&M but had asked about possible boyfriends.

“The family was not aware of any,” he said.


Garda James Codd also testified that he searched Ms O’Hara’s apartment twice, on 28 and 31 August 2012. He said he seized ‘a black plastic bag containing a PVC dress and empty bottle of lubricant’.

Pictured on the fourth day of the murder Garda James Codd Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

He also took away a printout relating to ‘The Gorean Lifestyle’, a rope and a gas mask.

When asked about the condition of the apartment, he said it was clean.

“When we stripped the bed, we noticed there were bloodstains on the mattress,” he added, however.

Garda Codd said that he travelled to Vartry Reservoir on 17 September 2013 and took a number of exhibits from a Garda O’Donoghue.

These included bondage cuffs, chains, a knife, leather mask, rope, gag and a set of keys.

He also received items from Garda Wayne Farrell that day. These included cuffs, two knives, a white sex toy, a black sex toy, tape, leather collar, a bag containing the barrel of a gun, a large camera lens and a Nokia mobile phone.

Slave ‘philosophy’

Sinead McGrath BL, prosecuting then read out the document entitled ‘The Gorean Lifestyle: A Woman’s Right is Slave’, which was also shown on screens throughout the courtroom.

The document began:

What is your name and identity? If you’re a woman practicing a Gorean lifestyle, you don’t have one. Your identity is kajira, a slave, and you serve a master, who orders you to do whatever he pleases. You have no rights and never address yourself as “I” or “me” – instead, you address yourself as “master’s slave”. Refusal to do this results in punishment, usually a whipping.

The document explained that the Gorean philosophy originated in 1967 with the release of John Norman’s book, ‘Tarnsman of Gor’, saying:

Gorean philosophy believes that men have a natural drive to dominate women; women have a strong desire to submit to men and give up their rights. Women are either free or enslaved, but free women can be enslaved at any time.
Slaves aren’t seen as people. They are, according to Gorean followers, human animals. Masters make decisions for them. They lose rights to their name. Their master chooses their name, although slaves are not allowed to refer to themselves by name.

It continued that a slave’s only goal in life was to bring pleasure and comfort to its master.

“There are different types of women slaves,” it continued. “Some slaves purely serve as sexual objects, while others are masterful at cooking. Slaves do not question anything. They do as they are told. Refusal to do anything results in discipline. Slaves must strive for perfection.”

Not only must slaves do their work well, but it must be done in a feminine, graceful way that expresses their sexuality. Gorean women retain the right to refuse slavery.
If a master wants to enslave a woman and she refuses, however, she may be killed.

The document then explained the various types of Gorean slaves, dividing them first into women who had lost their virginity and those who had not. After that, they were divided into further categories including, among others: Passion Slaves, who were trained and used for sexual services only, and Feast Slaves, who served food.

The document also detailed how the Gor books were banned in the 1980s and that Norman stopped the series in the 1990s. However, it returned when Gor was recognised in the BDSM community, where the Gorean lifestyle started. It also documented a case study of one slave, under the heading, Gor Ruined One Woman’s Life.

Under the heading, Why Do Women Choose Gor? the author suggested, among other theories, that some Gor masters manipulate women to join them. However, it concluded that most slaves were willing.


The jury also heard from the people who found Ms O’Hara’s remains on 13 September 2013, more than a year after she went missing.

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Professional dog trainer Magali Vergnet testified that she had been walking dogs on Killakee Mountain that afternoon. She was loading the dogs back into her car, but her own dog wouldn’t come for her.

Pictured on the fourth day of the murder Magali Vergnet leaves the Central Criminal Court after giving evidence Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

She heard her dog scratching and thought she had found a bone. The dog had previously found three bones in the area, the first being a deer’s leg.

The witness followed the noise into the woods to look for her and saw some bones as she did so. She identified these in a scene photograph for the jury.

She went another few metres and had to move branches out of her way.

“I saw some clothing,” she said, identifying the blue tracksuit bottoms in another photograph.

She said there was something in the tracksuit bottoms and she rubbed it with her foot.

“It felt like a shoe,” she recalled.

She then found her dog, who had two big bones. She said she was concerned that they were human bones because of the tracksuit bottoms she had seen.

She returned to her car, dropped off the dogs and called the landowner. They returned to the spot with a friend later that afternoon.

This time she saw a jaw bone and realised she had found human remains. They called the Gardaí and showed them to the scene.

While there with the authorities, she noticed a knife blade in the ground. She identified this blade in court.

The landowner, Frank Doyle, also gave evidence about the discovery. He said that apart from a few key holders, mountain walkers sometimes used the land.

He also said that some walkers would park their car outside the gate to this land.

“Courting couples use it, I suspect, as well,” he added about the parking space outside the gate.

“You do see condoms and a lot of McDonald’s bags, where they’ve eaten,” he explained.

He also recalled showing Gardaí to an area on neighbouring land, owned by Coillte. He explained that he had found something in the woods there when hunting with another man the previous hunting season.

“I found a big piece of plastic with some string, a bottle with Vaseline, a stick with nails sticking out and bits of plastic,” he said.

He explained that, after the discovery of the bones, he decided to point this out to the Gardaí.

The trial, which is due to last up to eight weeks, will continue tomorrow before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of five women and seven men.

About the author:

Natasha Reid

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