There is an absolutely wild murder trial happening in Dublin right now, in which a 42-year-old architect, "family man," and model airplane enthusiast is accused of killing a 36-year-old childcare worker who had recently been released from a psychiatric hospital at the time of her death in 2012.
Via The Journal, Graham Dwyer has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Elaine O'Hara, a decision that takes on extra interest in light of the fact that—over the course of their year-long text correspondence prior to O'Hara's death, which was produced in full by the prosecution and alleged to be from the defendant's number—Dwyer repeatedly sent her messages about his desire to kill her, such as: "If you ever want to die, promise me I can do it."
O'Hara, who would call him "sir" repeatedly in the text messages while Dwyer would call her "slave," allegedly replied, "Yes sir, I promise sir."
The two of them had had a sadomasochistic sexual relationship previous to their renewed contact in 2011, which began by Dwyer saying, "Hi Elaine, hope you are keeping well," and O'Hara responding: "Who is this please?"
Following that, Dwyer told her, "You should help me inflict pain on you and help me with my fantasy. Blood turns me on." O'Hara replied, "I'm not into blood anymore."
(Before, according to the prosecution, O'Hara had allowed Dwyer to stab her "on occasion," responding to desires he articulated in terms like "I want to stick my knife in flesh while I am sexually aroused.")
Other texts he sent her, all from The Journal's in-depth reporting on the case:
My urge to rape, stab or kill is huge. You have to help me control or satisfy it.
About a stabbing case in the news:
I am watching the case with interest… I would have loved to stab her… I can imagine the knife going in and out… lucky guy.
If you don't help me it could be you.
O'Hara had struggled with mental health issues prior to her weeks-long stay at a hospital in August 2012. She told Dwyer that acquiescing to his desires would set back her recovery, to which the text message in reply read, "It is something I want, it is not the same as cutting yourself."
Dwyer (or, the person behind the number alleged to be Dwyer's) remained in contact with her during her stay in the hospital: "You must be punished for trying to kill yourself without me," he wrote, articulating the punishment as "getting stabbed in the guts." He appears to have asked her if anyone knew about him, and said, "Let's keep it that way."
He also appears to have arranged her movements on the day of her release, in which she returned home, picked up a prescription, called work, and visited her mother's grave with her father and a plant they had bought together for the occasion.
O'Hara disappeared by a beach later that afternoon. In September of 2013, her possessions—"a set of keys, loyalty cards, handcuffs, a rope and two mobile phones"—were found in the Vartry reservoir, which supplies the Dublin suburbs and a few days later, the remains of her body were found in the nearby woods: cause of death undetermined.
By October 2013, the police searched Dwyer's house, seized evidence, and photographed items like a spade in the backyard that looks "quite similar," in a police officer's words, to a spade found in the woods near O'Hara's remains. The Mirror reports that, in February 2014, Dwyer provided police with a detailed map of his office, pointing them to a filing box containing two knives. His annual salary was cut by €17,350 total from January to June 2011. The Herald reports that Dwyer shows up repeatedly on CCTV footage from O'Hara's apartment, including one particular clip:
It showed Mr Dwyer entering the lobby, taking either the lift or stairway up, and leaving there between a minute and just under an hour and 15 minutes.
The footage also showed him carrying a red and black backpack, while the jury was shown at the same time a picture of a muddy red and black backpack recovered by gardai from Vartry reservoir, Co Wicklow.
Again: Dwyer pled not guilty.
I will continue to watch this case with interest.
Image via Shutterstock.