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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C
Niall Carson/PA Wire Graham Dwyer
on trial

Paint found on spade near Elaine O'Hara's body did not match paint at Graham Dwyer home

Graham Dwyer’s semen and Elaine O’Hara’s blood were found on her mattress, the court was told.

GRAHAM DWYER’S TRIAL has heard that his semen and Elaine O’Hara’s blood were found on her damaged mattress.

The architect’s trial also heard today that paint on a spade found near Ms O’Hara’s remains was not a chemical match to paint found in his shed.

Forensic scientists gave the evidence the day after Mr Dwyer’s wife said she recognised the spade as one missing from their garden, referring in particular to the paint on it.

The 42-year-old is charged with murdering Ms O’Hara at Killakee, Rathfarnham on 22 August 2012, hours after she was discharged from a mental health hospital.

The Cork-born father of three of Kerrymount Close, Foxrock, Dublin has pleaded not guilty to murdering the 36-year-old childcare worker on that date.

The trial is entering its 27th day at the Central Criminal Court.

Dr David Casey of the Forensic Science Laboratory testified that he examined items from Ms O’Hara’s home for biological substances, including blood and semen, for the purpose of DNA profiling.

The first item he dealt with was a mattress, which he said had five stab cuts and three small holes. These were mainly at the top end of the mattress, a photograph of which was shown on screens throughout the courtroom.

He said that semen was found in five areas of the mattress, but it was not possible to say when it had been deposited.


Dr Casey said that a full DNA profile matching that of the accused was found on three of those areas. He found partial DNA profiles matching Mr Dwyer’s on the two remaining stains and on a non-semen-stained area.

He said there was no evidence of a DNA profile from another person.

The scientist also examined bloodstaining on the mattress. Again, he was not able to say when the blood had been deposited.

He said that out of four areas of bloodstaining, two had holes.

“The DNA profile from those matched that of Elaine O’Hara,” he said.

He sampled five areas of bloodstaining on a bean bag cover and the DNA profile matched Ms O’Hara’s. He said there was also a stab cut to this material.

He did not find any semen on the inside of a black dress and there was insufficient DNA for profiling on the inside of a gas mask. He found a mixed DNA profile from two people on a rope from the apartment.


Dr Casey also examined items found with Ms O’Hara’s remains in Killakee. These included black tracksuit bottoms, which had three holes to the back, right buttock and upper thigh as well as a hole in the crotch area.

He was unable to rule out animal damage as the cause of the damage and found no semen or blood on the garment.

He identified no blood on a spade found at a second location in Killakee and proceeded to examine its handle for skin cells. He found partial DNA profiles from at least two people, but these were unsuitable for further interpretation.

The witness explained that the absence of semen or blood from the items was not significant, given their exposure to the elements for such a long period of time.

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


Bridget Fleming of the Forensic Science Laboratory testified that she was asked to examine tubs of paint and protector from Mr Dwyer’s shed, a piece of fence from his garden and the spade found near Ms O’Hara’s remains.

She explained that this was to see whether any paint traces on the spade could be from the same source as the paint on Mr Dwyer’s fence or the paint in his shed.

“They appeared like dried-on paint droplets,” she said of brown stains on the spade.

She said she carried out both microscopic and chemical composition tests.

She said that, under the microscope, the appearance of the paint on the spade was similar to that from Kerrymount Close.

She said they were also similar in chemical composition, but differences were observed.

“They did not match,” she said.

Ms Fleming said she was also asked to compare a rope found in Ms O’Hara’s home with pieces of a rope found in Killakee.

“They were different,” she said.

Mobile phones

The jury also heard today from two chief superintendents, who requested information on a total of five phone numbers from certain mobile phone companies.

The jury then heard from an engineer, whose company works on behalf of the phone companies regarding data collection.

Conor O’Callaghan of Vilicom Engineering Ltd said that he had produced engineering information for hundreds of unique cell IDs. He explained that this included locations and directions of mobile phone antennae.

He said he also generated coverage plots for dozens of individual cells. The jury was shown some of these plots on maps of the various sites mentioned in the trial.

Mr O’Callaghan will continue his evidence on Friday before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of five women and seven men.

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.