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I’m Sorry, Sir: The double life of Graham Dwyer, Ireland’s BDSM killer.

Writing.ie | Non Fiction

By Margaret Madden, BleachHouseLibrary.Blogspot.ie

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Earlier this year, the whole of Ireland held its breath as the jury in the trial of Graham Dwyer returned to the courtroom with their verdict. The fear was that this man may be acquitted on some technicality and that the death of Elaine O’Hara would never be accounted for. The man who had been charged with Elaine’s gruesome murder may just get away with it.

Niamh O’Connor, the former true crime editor of The Sunday World, sat through the entire murder trial and heard the testimony of witnesses, family members and investigating officers. While the nations newspapers divulged some of the horrendous details, the author had to sit in close proximity to the accused, watch Elaine O’Hara’s father and sister give heartbreaking evidence and hope that justice would be served.

They say that fact is stranger than fiction, and this case was a perfect example…

Elaine O’Hara was a lonely woman, trying to find love within the relatively small world of the BDSM community. When she met with Graham Dwyer, via the internet, it seemed a perfect match. She wanted a master, he wanted a submissive. Unbeknownst to Elaine, he also wanted to kill someone, to fulfill his ultimate fantasy.

Elaine was an ideal victim as she suffered from mental health issues and had extremely low self-esteem. Over the course of time, Graham moulded and shaped her to his specific design and even tried to recruit her assistance in killing other women. One of the most shocking aspects of the case was the complete double life of Graham Dwyer. A happily married father and career minded man, with a loving family, average upbringing and no obvious signs of a split personality. As the trial progressed, the evidence piled up against the man and Elaine’s life was exposed to the bare truths. Gut wrenching to read at times, one of the saddest pieces of the puzzle were the text messages between ‘Master’ and ‘Slave’. Niamh O’Connor has used transcripts of these messages, and highlights the main details of the case to show how one person’s persona can be so distorted when their outer layers are stripped away. She has used a little artistic licence at the beginning of the book, to suppose what the killer was up to before the disappearance of Elaine. From then on, the facts take over, and speak for themselves.

This is not a pleasant read, by any stretch of the imagination, but true crimes never are. There is no happy ending for the O’Hara or Dwyer families. Not only has someone lost their daughter, their sister or their aunt, but each of the killers family members are also victims.

If you were dipping in and out of newspaper reports on the trial, and missed the complete story, this book is ideal.  Starting from when Dwyer first encountered Elaine O’Hara and showing how he planned more than just the one death, this account is a detailed look at how the mind of a killer works.  Perfect for readers of true crime or anyone who followed this story in the media. This is true crime at its most accurate.

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