'His endless lies and lack of remorse added to pain'
Published 05/02/2010 | 05:00
THE pain of her killing was compounded by lie after lie, rendering her family utterly powerless.
Yesterday, Celine Cawley's family hit out at Eamonn Lillis for the "endless lies" which have caused them untold hurt over the past 13 months.
In her victim impact statement, Susanna Cawley, spoke lovingly of the "good-humoured, roguish, fun, compassionate and caring" sister she knew.
But she said the ongoing lies from her killer husband stole those memories from her and made the suffering they endured after her death even worse. It was particularly tough for their elderly father, she said.
Right up until the day his trial began last month, the 52-year-old had maintained that the couple disturbed an intruder and that they became involved in a struggle with him.
He claimed Celine sustained her fatal injuries in this struggle and it was only after almost 14 months of lies that he finally admitted the intruder never existed.
"For Celine, and those of us who mourn her deeply, we were utterly deprived of any dignity, spirituality or peace," the statement read by the prosecution barrister, Mary Ellen Ring, said.
She said that even her funeral was a media circus, in which they were denied the comfort of the normal rituals of death.
She said Celine (46), a successful media executive, was also a very generous aunt and godmother who knew "all the birthdays" and always bought great, age-appropriate gifts.
Celine was "a big kid" herself who probably got as much fun from remote control tractors and fluffy puppy dogs as the children did.
She also spoke of the pain caused to her "wonderful, honourable 80 year old dad".
"Whatever about the rest of us, Dad deserves to know the truth," she said, adding that advantage of his loyalty had been taken.
Lillis's lack of remorse was also hard to credit, despite having had 13 months of opportunity to at least apologise to his daughter and Celine's father.
"No such apology was forthcoming," she said, as her father James gave her a look that contained both excruciating grief and gratitude that she had given words to his emotions.
She also spoke of their powerlessness to help the couple's now 17-year-old daughter.
They wanted to protect and help her but she said they were legally prevented from doing so
"We were, and are, absolutely powerless," she said. "Every avenue I tried to go down, I'd no legal entitlement to step in."