Wife-killer will be worth €2m when he leaves prison
Published 01/02/2010 | 05:00
WIFE-killer Eamonn Lillis will be worth in the region of €2m when he is released from prison, even though the woman he killed earned the vast bulk of the fortune.
Lillis changed his will shortly before his Central Criminal Court trial began to ensure his daughter and his two sisters will inherit everything if he dies.
Under the 1965 Succession Act, the 52-year-old cannot inherit Celine Cawley's estate because he killed her. But he will be able to keep a half-share of everything the couple owned together.
This includes the €1.5m home in Howth, Co Dublin, where he killed his wife; a holiday home in France; and another €500,000 property in Sutton. It also includes whatever money was held in the couple's joint bank accounts.
And as revealed in the Irish Independent on Saturday, he will get €359,000 in cash from the couple's film production company Toytown. He put the firm into voluntary liquidation shortly after Ms Cawley's death in December 2008.
Ms Cawley (46) established the production company and was acknowledged as the driving force behind its success. Lillis only started working there as a director after he became unemployed.
During the trial, the Central Criminal Court heard that Ms Cawley had an annual salary of €500,000 while Lillis took home €100,000. Nonetheless, Ms Cawley's family have no legal right to take back anything that the couple owned together.
The couple's teenage daughter will inherit Ms Cawley's half of the estate.
Lillis is to be sentenced by Judge Barry White on Thursday after being found guilty of the manslaughter of his wife. He had pleaded not guilty to her murder.
Now it has also emerged that he changed the terms of his will to ensure that, in the event of his death, his assets would go solely to his daughter and two sisters.
Ms Cawley and Lillis bought the five-bedroom house on Windgate Road in Howth in 2000, and documents show a €160,000 mortgage was taken out against it. The home is valued at about €1.5m. The couple also bought a luxury home in Biarritz in 2005, and are believed to have paid €400,000 in cash before adding a patio. The property brings in a rental income of €1,800 a week during peak season.
Ms Cawley's elderly father James is a joint owner and was a regular visitor to the holiday home in the past.
The couple's other property -- in Sutton in Dublin -- is also believed to be worth in the region of €500,000, while a further €718,000 will be left in the company accounts when debts are covered. Lillis will get half.
He is also entitled to half of the money in their bank accounts, with estimates for this ranging up to €500,000. And he will keep any vehicles or clothes that he bought when Ms Cawley was alive.
Legal sources have indicated he is also likely to get back the Tiffany necklace he sent to his mistress, Jean Treacy, when he was trying to win her back after killing his wife.