Wife killer claims daughter will let him return home
Published 05/11/2010 | 05:00
JAILED television advertising executive Eamonn Lillis claims his daughter has agreed he can return to the home where he killed his wife.
Lillis (53) said in an affidavit lodged with the High Court that his teenage daughter had consented to him returning home once he finished serving his six-year and 11-month manslaughter sentence at Wheatfield Prison in Dublin.
He is battling to hold on to two homes he co-owned with wife Celine Cawley.
Ms Cawley (46), a former model who ran the successful Toytown Films television advertising firm, died in December 2008 after her husband struck her on the head with a brick on the patio of their home in Howth, Co Dublin.
Lillis, who was having an affair with masseuse Jean Treacy (32), initially tried to blame an intruder for the killing.
The father of one is defending an action brought by relatives of his wife, which would see him lose his 50pc interest in his two homes.
"I have discussed with my daughter what is likely to happen when I leave prison. Both she and I are in agreement that I should return to the family home," he said in an affidavit.
Lillis also said his daughter had been visiting him in prison, but not during the school term.
Ms Cawley left an estate worth just over €1m in her will, which will be inherited by her 17-year-old daughter when she turns 18 later this month.
Her sister Susanna and brother Christopher were made joint administrators of the estate last March.
Lillis is looking to keep a half share of everything the couple owned together, including homes at Rowan Hill, Howth, and Tramway Court, Sutton.
But the Cawley family is now seeking to ensure Lillis's assets also go to the couple's daughter.
The Cawleys are expected to ask the court to direct that, because Lillis killed his wife, he be declared 'dead' for the purposes of the Succession Act, meaning that all the couple's assets would pass to his daughter.
However, Lillis is saying he is entitled to "the entire interest" in both homes.
He said he had already been "deprived of my liberty" and stated that if he lost his right to the properties it would be "a further form of punishment".
Lillis said he was "plagued with guilt" over his wife's death.
He also insisted that "the death was not intentional" and "that events leading to the death were not financially motivated" and went on to say that he was entitled to hold on to the properties.
He also said that the success of Toytown films was very much a joint effort, despite evidence during his trial that his wife had a salary of €500,000, while his was €100,000.
Lillis appears to dispute these figures, stating: "It is not correct that in overall content my wife had greater earnings than me or that her contribution to the acquisition of the properties was greater than mine."
He went on to say: "We used a Ir£60,000 mortgage to buy Rowan Hill and paid it in full from funds from a joint account held in the name of my wife and I.
"My wife and I were both directors and equal shareholder of Toytown Films Ltd. She requested me to join her in the company on an equal footing.
"I was reluctant to do so but did so at her insistence. I had strong artistic skills and my wife had strong business skills. Consequently our skills were complementary and we both brought skills that led to the success of the company.
"The successful years of the company were the years of our joint involvement. My wife and I operated the company as a joint enterprise," he added.