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20th Apr 2015

‘For Us, There Is No Parole’ – Family Of Elaine O’Hara Speak Out As Graham Dwyer Is Jailed For Life For Her Murder

He was found guilty of the crime last month.


Graham Dwyer has today been jailed for life for the murder of Elaine O’Hara in 2012.

Following a lengthy trial, the architect was found guilty of murdering Ms O’Hara three weeks ago and Judge Tony Hunt today handed down a life sentence to Mr Dwyer, adding that it was “a sentence he richly deserves”.

Her skeletal remains were found on Kilakee Mountain in September 2013 and Dwyer has denied the murder since been taken into custody in October 2013.

Delivering today’s verdict, Judge Hunt said that Ms O’Hara’s death was a “chilling murder” following a “vile manipulation” and that Mr Dwyer had shown no remorse for this actions at any stage of the trial.

Ms O’Hara’s family have also released a victim impact statement, saying that the trial had been an “incredibly difficult experience”, with some of the media coverage “insulting” to Elaine and “deeply upsetting for the family”.


Here is their statement in full, via RTÉ News.

“Words cannot adequately describe how we are feeling and we would never want any other family to go through what we have endured over the past two and a half years.

We have lost a daughter, a sister, a friend in the most brutal, traumatic and horrifying manner. We also have many unanswered questions which we will have to carry with us for the rest of our lives.

Elaine was a very intelligent girl who never fully realised her potential due to her psychological difficulties. She was prescribed a lot of medication and this did have an impact on her ability to be a regular teenager, particularly socially.

She was emotionally immature and very trusting of anyone who showed her kindness. In later years her medication was reduced, hospital stays became less common and she functioned more effectively.

However, she had missed out on those important, formative, teenage years. She had a strong work ethic and loved working with children as she could relate to them better than to adults.  She was always there to help and assist others, giving lifts, covering shifts or collecting items for the Christmas fair.

She adored her niece who was also her god daughter.  She loved reading, painting and playing with her. For months after her disappearance, her goddaughter pointed out cars like Elaine’s and said there’s Elaine’s car.

We smiled and nodded. How could we explain something to a young child that we couldn’t understand ourselves. Since her death, she has had two more nieces who will never know their aunt.

Elaine’s ambition was to be a teacher and she was studying Montessori. In 2014, we collected a BA in montessori education which was awarded to her in St Nicholas Montessori School.

Elaine O'Hara death

She would have been so happy and proud to stand up in her gown and hat to accept her degree herself after overcoming many obstacles to finally get the qualifications she longed for, but unfortunately, this was not to be.

When Elaine went missing in August 2012, we were devastated.

At that time she appeared to be progressing very well in life.  She had a new apartment, was studying and working in two jobs.

She had a setback in July 2012 and was voluntarily admitted to hospital. However, on weekend release, she was in very good form and was looking forward to the future.

The assumed suicide in August 2012 was a surprise to all the family, but lack of evidence pointing to any other cause for her disappearance meant we reluctantly needed to accept that she had most likely taken her own life in or around Shanganagh.

We spent many hours walking the shore from Blackrock to Bray searching for any sign of her.

A year after her disappearance, we laid flowers in the sea at Shanganagh in her memory and in an effort to find some closure for us as a family

Our attempt at closure was premature as when in September 2013, Elaine’s remains were discovered, the garda investigation changed from that of a missing person to murder.

There was further anguish for the family as we now faced the unimaginable horror of Elaine having been murdered.

This trial has been an incredibly difficult experience. It was distressing to see Elaine’s private life laid bare before the nation, despite the fact that she was the victim. Some of the reporting in the print media was insulting to Elaine and deeply upsetting for the family.

At times, Elaine’s life was relegated to a lurid headline in a newspaper. It was heartbreaking for us to listen to the texts Elaine received from a depraved and diseased mind.

The manipulation of her vulnerability was apparent and when she tried to resist, she was reined back in. We can hear her voice in the texts, just wanting to be loved. Hearing of the contents of videos will haunt us forever.

We were upset that the credibility of our evidence was questioned as throughout the two and a half years, all we wanted was the truth and justice for Elaine.

We will probably never know what happened in Kilakee on 22 August 2012, but there are questions that trouble us. When did Elaine realise that it was not a game any more? When did she realise that the intention was to kill her for real? Did she try to run away? Was she restrained?Did she suffer much? Could she and did she cry out? Was she left on the mountain to die alone?

This is our life sentence, for us there is no parole.