Wednesday 18 January 2017

Killer is 'kind, gentle and compassionate'

Friends paint a picture of loving father

Edel Kennedy

Published 05/02/2010 | 05:00

A LOVING father, a gentleman, and a faithful friend.

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This was the picture painted by the defence of killer Eamonn Lillis (52).

Brendan Grehan, defending, pointed to comments made by his former mistress Jean Treacy during the trial in which she stated she had believed he "wouldn't hurt a fly".

He said Lillis had no previous convictions and that his wife had not sustained any fractures during their fight.

"Dr Curtis (deputy state pathologist Michael Curtis) had said moderate force was likely to have caused the injuries," he said. Two character witnesses took to the stand to speak in favour of Lillis.

Gerry Kennedy told the court he had met Lillis in UCD in 1975 and he would still consider him one of his closest friends.

"He's a gentleman, kind and compassionate, a very good listener," he said when asked to describe the killer. "He's certainly been a good friend to me." He told the court that when his brother died in a car crash in Mexico in 1980 Lillis was a huge support to his family, especially his mother.

Mr Kennedy later asked Lillis to be godfather to his daughter, and he was "honoured" to be asked to be godfather to Lillis's now 17-year-old daughter.

"I do know he misses Celine a lot," he said.

"I know from conversation he'd do anything to have her back. These events are truly awful. I'd certainly like to see him given a chance to have a relationship with his daughter as she moves from child to adult." He said Lillis was always a fantastic father.

"He is the last person in the world I felt would ever be here today, I genuinely believe that. He has always been a gentleman, a very considerate man.

"I believe he was then, and I believe he still is."

A second friend, Siobhan Cassidy, said she has been friends with the killer for 34 years after meeting him in UCD when they both studied English Literature. She has always found him to be a "mild-mannered man".

"He was very courteous and that never changed," she said to questions from Mr Grehan.

"I never saw Eamonn to be confrontational."

She said she never believed him to be capable of the behaviour which resulted in his wife's death, adding that he is godfather to her now 24-year-old daughter.

Lies

"Regarding his own role as a father, I met him and his daughter recently and the love between them is evident," she said. "When my husband rang me to tell me of Celine's death, my reaction was: 'Thank God she has Eamonn'."

Mr Grehan said Lillis feels only regret for what happened that day in December 2008 and that he will love his wife for the rest of his life. He said their daughter is the only thing of his wife he has left.

"He is extremely regretful for what happened that fateful morning and the subsequent lies.... especially to Celine's family who took him in afterwards."

Mr Grehan asked Mr Justice Barry White to take account of the media attention when deciding a sentence, saying Lillis will remain a person of interest to the media even after being released from a custodial sentence.

"I would ask the court in determining sentencing to be as proportionate and compassionate as it can," he added.

Irish Independent

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