Graham Dwyer Murder Trial — Lessons to be Learned

Sadistic murder case raises deep questions about Irish society

The details emerging in the Graham Dwyer murder trial are some of the most disturbing I’ve ever come across, but that’s not because I find the gruesome details shocking.  I’ve encountered some terrible things in the course of my life, including violent death from many causes.

I find the details shocking because the case has exposed a whole sub-culture, a world of people obsessed with inflicting and suffering pain.  A world where some people think of themselves as gods, while others view themselves as worthless objects to be abused and disposed of.

Innocent or guilty of Elaine O’Hara’s murder, this is the world Graham Dwyer immersed himself in, to the extent that his corporeal existence as a partner in the architectural firm Wejcherts seems to have become the fantasy side of his life rather than the reality.  If the evidence is to be believed, Dwyer plunged into the darkness of a world where pain is the only reality, the only currency worth possessing.  The fictional stories found on his external drives detail fantasies of abduction, torture and murder, but what’s deeply disturbing is that these files were kept on the same drive as pictures of family occasions and even a scan of his child in utero, as if they were just another normal part of human existence.

No wonder Graham Dwyer kept his head in his hands as these details were read out to a court cleared of the public by Judge Tony Hunt, though in truth, the judge might as well not have bothered, since we’re already hardened to the brutality of modern life.

On the other side of this equation, Graham Dwyer seemed to find common cause with people who wished to be harmed, humiliated and ultimately murdered.  And he seemed to make contact with them easily enough on the internet where people exist who have such a low opinion of themselves that they consider themselves worthy of nothing better than torture followed by murder.

Out there are people who will gladly offer themselves up for such treatment, and not all of them are women.  In 2001, Armin Meiwes posted an advertisement on  Cannibal Cafe  for “a well-built 18- to 30-year-old to be killed and eaten.”   Bernd Brandes replied to the ad, and together they tried to eat Brandes before he died of his injuries.  There was no coercion involved.  Brandes wanted to be killed and eaten.  Some very strange people inhabit the world of pain and humiliation.

When I was growing up, I knew a young lad who took great enjoyment from inflicting pain on small animals.  I don’t know where that impulse came from, but the last I heard he was a school principal somewhere.

How can anyone understand such a thing?  I can’t and neither, in all likelihood, can you.

But the fact is that the world is full of sadistic people and most of them will never kill or even inflict a tiny cut on another human being.  For every gross murder that grabs the headlines, a dozen dysfunctional sadists in business inflict unnecessary pain on a vulnerable colleague, a dozen nasty-minded care professionals humiliate some old person, a dozen power-maddened policemen  force an innocent passer-by to the ground, a dozen direct-provision hostel owners bark instructions at a desperate refugee from torture in a foreign country and a dozen petty Social Welfare officials humiliate some unemployed dole-applicant queueing at a hatch.

Maybe we should ask ourselves if the Graham Dwyer case simply reveals the extreme end of deeply-ingrained human tendency.


22 thoughts on “Graham Dwyer Murder Trial — Lessons to be Learned

  1. Without laws and other human constructs we’d all need guns to ensure our personal safety. It’s all a pretty thin veneer in reality Bock. You can see it at superpower level easy enough though – the need to maintain a nuclear arsenal as a deterrent.

    Millions of years of evolution based on survival of the fittest (ie: being able to take what others have got) didn’t just magically disappear in recent centuries – we just developed ways to suppress it.

    Makes you wonder what it’d be like if the lid ever came off!

  2. In John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, he writes a few pages of how he believes some evil people are born such…and don’t become bad because of social circumstances…a fault in the genes or a deficiency of the brain…look in up…it comes quite early in that great book…

  3. I think the shame is that he is so lacking in a moral compass that he pleaded innocent. Not happy to take her life he has to destroy her reputation completely. Wouldn’t you imagine that a member of his own family or his legal advisers would tell him to “get real” and admit his guilt and accept his fate? The man is quite patently guilty, and the trial has revealed him to be a wicked person with not a shred of compassion or kindness towards a woman who was doing her very best to get her life on an even keel. Reading the reports on the case are like wading through a slurry tank; it leaves a person feeling badly about the state of humankind. If he is jailed he should never be released; as he said himself “a life for a life”.

  4. Apart from bullies, cunts & tyrants, the ever constant affirmation of Burkes declaration that “evil triumphs when good men do nothing” shouts loudly from all news medias. I was watching the “Jimmy Saville ” expose on 5 last night and it made me feel angry that this monster was not only allowed to abuse all & sundry but was actually encouraged by the very people that were placed there to protect them. God protect us from our protectors. !

  5. For some people fantasies involving sex and torment and (male) dominance are vicarious attractions. Individuals are attracted to fictional depictions, whether in the cinema or in stories and novels. Ordinary readers enjoy detective novels in which the police try to find the murderer by looking carefully at clues and interviewing people to gain new information. At the sex-masochist level it can become dangerously obsessive. The Marquis de Sade and later the American short story teller Edgar Allen Poe focused on the darkest, cruellest imaginings in the (male) human psyche. The Nazis in Hitler’s Germanyand the NKVD of Stalin’s Soviet Union put such dark imaginings into widespread and systematic murderous practice. This is the historical reality of dark sadistic fantasy. Should opinion writers, doctors, politicians, religious leaders and other agents of influence warn about the evil nature of sexual-sadistic fantasising? In the 1960s feminist activists coined the slogan that: Pornography is the theory, rape is the practice. Should public opinionators in the media and elsewhere now begin to argue that Sadosexual fantasy is the theory, cruel abuse and death can become the practice? Can censorship play any legitimate role?

  6. Yes Mick, there is a very thin veneer of respectability out there, peoples behaviour on the days of the “blue flu” showed clearly how people might behave without the threat of retribution.
    Graham O Dwyer is regarded as being well educated (college/professional) so a poor upbringing cannot be used in his defence as in nature vs nurture, I believe, quite simply, that he is a bad egg as people were often described and the sooner the better he is put away for as long as possible .

    This was’nt fantasy, Ben R, this was torture & murder.

    Whatever horrors Elaine agreed to be part of would not be considered by a person of sound mind.
    may she rest in peace.

  7. Let us not forget Garda Comissioner Callinan’s warning to
    ( all the silly) wimmins, not to be ” meeting with strangers online” and to “take care”. That must rank as one of the most useless warnings ever issued by a police force on the planet. He might as well have cried “Wolf”.
    Considering that we know now that Graham Dwyer was discussing finding a female victim by hitting her on the back of the head with a hammer, while she was out walking or working alone; I invite Callinan and the plethora of MRA’s who were online (ooooh strangers!) advising women to beef up their defence skills to crouching tiger, hidden dragon levels, to reveal how they would avoid such a cowardly and deadly assault? Travelling in pairs? Not going outside?
    My immediate thought on his ‘warnings’ were 1/ do your bloody job or 2/ give me something to work with here. Like a description or a effin location ( example walking in Dub mountains). All her killer needed was any woman, alone. Which goes to show that you cannot put out a blanket warning for murders any more than you can on rapes. Locating the triggers for what makes men rape and murder would be a better expenditure of public hot air.
    This guy was high functioning, he didn’t ‘fall on his head when he was a baby’. He devolved into this. And yes, follow the porn trail by all means. Anyone who can watch snuff or brutal rape/murder to get their rocks off is a complete social deviant, who should warrant closer inspection.

  8. @Lynda, he didn’t say that did he?

    Does Larry Murphy has a POF – that’d be plenty of fish – account I wonder?
    And shur no one’s perfect really..a gal likes a challenge too like. New pair a jeans and practicing normal in the mirror for a few hours and he might scrub up well.

    But seriously – lesson learned? Get medieval on any fuckwit that won’t go away.
    Fit you in on Thursday for a stabbin’ was one of the texts apparently, and I’ll be fitting in a call to the guards, your family and your employer should be the response. Instead she was pleading with him not to kill her – over a text.

  9. @Artemis, Yep.
    His actual word was ‘people’ as in :
    “The internet is a marvellous creation”, the Commissioner said, “but I would tell people to know who you are dealing with and know the circumstances surrounding your business on the net. They should exercise reasonable caution and care, as in any other facet of life.”
    But it was said in the context of Elaine O Hara possibly meeting someone online, and connecting her murder to the historic investigation into women murdered in Wicklow and surrounding counties, Operation Trace.
    1/5 of relationships start online now and I’m assuming most of them are relatively normal ? I may be odd, but I could kinda understand if he had some sort of messiah complex and believed he was ‘putting them out of their misery’ so to speak and they really wanted this. But in the end this was just a f*%ked up fantasy for these women whereas he actually meant it!
    Not only that but he wanted to go further and threatened, coerced and bullied them into picking non death wish/ random victims when they expressed the fact that they did not actually wish to die. A couple of his ex’s have given evidence. The American one is damning. Same MO. She and EOH were badly depressed and he preyed on that and tried to sink them when they stood up to him. The other just recognised that he was a fruit and nut.

  10. He actually said “people” after a little pat on the head ” the Internet is a marvellous creation, but…you should exercise caution as in all areas of life”…
    However it was said in the context of EOH meeting with someone online and a possibility of a connection with other investigations of disappearances of women in Wicklow and surrounding counties, Operation Trace.
    As 1 out of 5 relationships start online now his sweeping statements were meaningless. It was literally a Father Ted, outside the cinema with a ‘take care now’ placard, moment.
    Re: EOH, she did not want to die and was fighting to recover from her mental illness. But when she, and his previous American target, expressed this fact he began to coerce, threaten and bully them into finding a random , non death wish woman for him to stab to death for his sexual gratification.
    He went as far as responding to her text asking him to stop, that she did not want to die, by saying in effect ‘I will be here when you change your mind, I can make it all end’ followed by ‘ otherwise you owe me a victim, it’s your fault’.
    In effect he became the black dog she was trying to shake. The women did not really want to die, it was just a f#%ked up fantasy for them, tied into their depression. But he was deadly serious and knew exactly what he was doing even down to undermining their mental health with his frightening requests, in order to have an easier prey.
    But you can tell he would have escalated to random victims by his texts. I don’t doubt that he spent the year between her death and the discovery of her body, planning other murders of female walkers in the dublin mountains.
    He chose these women as his training wheels.

  11. I refuse to meet anyone online, face to face only. Also, I believe the (now) former Garda Commissioner was just trying to be helpful in his advice. You’d be amazed at how many people walk themselves into dangerous situation

  12. Alex, that is your perogative entirely but meeting people face to face is no guarantee of increased personal safety. You meet complete strangers every day,who tell you less than many do online. GOD for example was an extremely plausible and likeable character by all accounts. EOH knew who he was, where he lived etc. They were from the same city. That didn’t protect her.
    He planned to escalate to bash, rape and murder of women he came accross or met in person.
    So how were Garda Callinan’s comments helpful precisely?
    Btw. Apologies for the duplicated comments Bock, you were right to withold at the time.

  13. Callinan could have been onto something. Tis only prudent to ask strangers on the internets if they are homicidal maniacs.

    Fecking clueless.
    Typical commentary about the internet from a digital immigrant. (people born before the advent of digital technology.. not necessarily a correct definition though IMO)

  14. Yep, he is clueless and it’s was no surprise when he fell on his sword, he tripped onto it really.
    What is actually really sad is that EOH told people (not her family) that someone was hurting her. She mentioned it to her behavioural therapist, to her old friend who ditched her calls and texts because they were excessive ( no blame for that here ,but seriously telling someone to keep a record ‘just in case something happens’ is ridiculous advice) and her nurse on the night before her death who was the only one concerned enough to tell her to ring the police. Her step mother, a psychologist, said she spent some of her later teenage years so medicated she would fall asleep on a Sunday outing from the hospital ( medicated by a consultant who said in one report she was not ‘feminine’). Her step mother reckoned she had an emotional age of 15 because she missed those developmental stages. How many others had she told she was in danger? We have become such a busy society we can no longer hear a quiet cry for help. I include myself in that. The lesson I take from this is to try to really listen to people more.

  15. I’d have to include myself in that. The details of the case were so appalling that I didn’t take the trouble to learn about them and that’s why there have been n posts on this site about the case. It’s too hard for me to think about.

  16. That’s understandable. I took an interest in the case from when Elaine was found and Comissioner Callinan made his statement. I cannot even find an adjetive that describes how I perceived his statement. I got in a row with an MRA at the time when he said that it could have been a lesbian woman into bondage that killed Elaine despite the fact that her dating profile clearly said she was seeing men. Inversion of political correctness I suppose.
    As a woman ( collective groan) I cannot help but try to understand the potential dangers out there for me, for my daughter and my friends. We live in this constant state of alertness. I can understand normal men’s absolute horror, incomprehension and feeling of powerlessness in cases like this. At least as women we can channel our fear and our anger. We kind of have to. The one thing I’m sure of is that GOD was a misogynist. Because only a man/person who hates women could single them out his entire life for such treatment. He truly objectified them.

  17. I wouldn’t normally be this nitpicking, but his initials are actually GD not GOD. This would matter to him, so fuck him.

  18. You are absolutley right. I got it mixed up with his old notes about his ability to give and take life “like his hero God”.
    Happy to be corrected.
    Moderately ..

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