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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Graham Dwyer trial

Profile of a killer: Graham Dwyer

Graham Dwyer will appear in court today to hear his sentence.

A SUCCESSFUL ARCHITECT, with a loving wife, two children and a beautiful family home in the Dublin suburbs. Hardly the stereotypical image of a cold-blooded killer.

The details surrounding the trial of Graham Dwyer shocked the nation from day one.

Horrific text messages, graphic videos and gruesome stories opened up the world of BDSM and detailed the relationship between Dwyer and Elaine O’Hara, the childcare worker he killed in August 2012.

On the surface Dwyer was just an ordinary, working man.

elaine-graham-390x285 Garda Press / PA Elaine O'Hara and Graham Dwyer Garda Press / PA / PA

His early life 

Graham Dwyer was born on 13 September 1972 in Bandon, county Cork.

He is the son to Seán and Susan Dwyer and has an older sister and two younger brothers.

He attended Hamilton High School in Bandon and was in a band.

He met his wife, Gemma, who is from Sligo, while they were studying architecture in DIT in Bolton Street.

Dwyer set up home with his wife in Gulistan Cottages, off Upper Mountpleasant Avenue, Rathmines, before buying a family home in Kerrymount Close, Foxrock.

Graham, already a father to a man in his 20s, Senan, became a father to two more children with Gemma Dwyer.

Dwyer was passionate about model airplanes, expensive cars and mountain biking. He took camping trips with the family and enjoyed having “the lads” around while the wife was away.

2012_naias_red_porsche_991_convertible_world_premiere-630x420 Wikicommons Porsche 911 Wikicommons

Appearances on TV

He even enjoyed a night out with family at the Late Late Show when Katherine Jenkins performed.

Dwyer also appeared in other media and broadcasting features some years ago.

He took part in a RTÉ television show about renovating their family home.

Dwyer shows the camera crew around a showhome set which he designs, and which features a fish tank fitted to the side and underneath the bathtub.

dwyer_2-630x370 RTÉ Six One News RTÉ Six One News

The Irish Times also reports that Dwyer was featured in their property section of the newspaper in May 2007.

On the surface, Dwyer appeared to be a normal, everyday professional, but he was leading a double life.

The veil of secrecy that shrouded it was pulled away when just before 7am, on 17 October 2013, the gardaí arrived at his door.

Arrested on suspicion of murdering Elaine O’Hara, he was taken to the station for questioning. His Foxrock home was searched and items of interest were seized. Graham Dwyer was interviewed five times over 24 hours.

Manipulative character 

From the very first day of the trial the court heard the graphic text messages sent between him and Elaine. The text messages showed a manipulative character who preyed on Elaine’s mental health issues.

The court later heard first hand from the mother of his eldest son, Emer McShea, about the early signs of what Dwyer was in to.

Dwyer had revealed his stabbing fantasies to her when they were dating in their 20s.

She told the court that when discussing fantasies, Graham told her about his stabbing fetish and about wanting to stab a woman during sex. She said he also began bringing a kitchen knife to bed and pretended to stab her during sex.

This was almost two decades before he murdered Elaine O’Hara.

Throughout the trial, dressed in a suit and tie, Dwyer seems unphased by graphic evidence about him being presented to the court. He would often be seen staring blankly ahead at the jury or sometimes with a wry smirk on his face.

Set free 

He laughed and seemed in good form after each day’s proceedings, talking to his father, brother or sister and his legal team. This was a man who believed he would be set free.

Dwyer was adamant he would be walking out of court, with some reporting he believed he would be asked on the Late Late Show, while other reports in the media state that he had a home-coming party planned in Cork.

The jury deliberated for a total of seven hours and 33 minutes, returning a verdict of guilty.

Upon hearing the verdict, Dwyer closed his eyes and shook his head. His father and tearful sister were seated in the gallery.

Since his arrest in 2013, Dwyer has remained in Cloverhill Prison.

Graham Dwyer court case PA Archive / Press Association Images Cloverhill Prison PA Archive / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

He was moved to a cell on the medical unit when the trial began, for fears for his safety as the front pages of the newspapers splashed the trial’s happenings over its front pages.

Dwyer was placed on suicide watch while awaiting his sentencing hearing.

A man who told prison guards he would be cleared and out enjoying a steak dinner when he was found not guilty will today be handed down a mandatory life sentence.

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

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