Wife killer Eamonn Lillis sentenced to seven years
Published 05/02/2010 | 11:35
Killer Eamonn Lillis has been sentenced to six years and 11 months in prison for the manslaughter of his wife Celine Cawley.
A jury of six men and six women found 52-year-old Lillis guilty of manslaughter last Friday, having found that the State failed to prove he intended to murder Celine at their home in Howth, Dublin, in December 2008.
Mr Justice Barry White said while Lillis at least had the decency to call emergency services and attempt to resuscitate his wife, he then persisted to lie to gardai to conceal his own involvement.
"Your behaviour has had a devastating effect on people of all ages," the judge said.
"From your father-in-law, who is some 80 years of age, down to your own daughter, who is 17 years of age."
The judge at the Central Criminal Court said the teenager had described in her victim impact statement how she had changed from a 15-year-old girl into a hardened 17-year-old adult.
Members of the Cawley family, including Ms Cawley's father James, sister Susanna and brother Chris, maintained a dignified silence as the sentence was imposed.
With his head held high as he stood and listened to the judge, a weary looking Lillis did not flinch as he was then led away to his new life behind bars in Dublin's Wheatfield Prison.
Mr Justice White said he would take into account three weeks Lillis spent in custody in the early stages of the garda investigation, leaving him facing six years and 11 months in jail.
The judge told Lillis that without any mitigating factors the appropriate sentence would have been 10 years.
He said he was taking into account his previously unblemished character, his age and the intense media coverage.
The 16-day trial gripped the nation with onlookers queuing to pack court six of the new Criminal Courts of Justice each day.
Mr Justice White also said he was taking into consideration the victim impact statement from Lillis's daughter which revealed the teenager and her father had been hounded by the media, and he asked for it to stop.
"All I can do is request that ceases," he said.
The judge also appealed for the media to respect the privacy of the Cawley family.
Today only family and friends, investigating officers and journalists were allowed into the courtroom with the public forced to watch proceedings on screens in an overflow room.