Friday 23 February 2018

Celine leaves €1m to her daughter

But killer husband will get half share of three homes and bank account

Celine Cawley during her modelling career
Celine Cawley during her modelling career
Celine pictured shortly before her death
Eamonn Lillis: jailed for manslaughter
The couple's house in Howth, which Lillis will eventually get his share of on his release from prison

Ciaran Byrne

BUSINESSWOMAN Celine Cawley, killed by her husband Eamonn Lillis at their Dublin home in 2008, has left her young daughter a €1m legacy.

The 17-year-old will inherit her mother's net estate totalling €1,059,988.06 when she turns 18 later this year, the Irish Independent has learned.

Ms Cawley (46) was a highly successful TV and cinema advertising executive who ran her own firm, Toytown Films. Mr Lillis also worked there.

Probate papers show she made a will in 1993 just two years after she married the man who would eventually end her life. Lillis was jailed for six years and 11 months in February for manslaughter.

On March 2, Lillis surrendered administration of the will to Ms Cawley's brother Christopher Cawley, who lives in Howth, north Dublin; and her sister Susanna Cawley, who lives in Naas, Co Kildare.

Lillis (52) agreed to step aside as administrator for dispersal of her possessions and assets. Under the 1965 Succession Act, he was legally barred from inheriting Ms Cawley's estate because he killed her.

Instead, the entire net estate will be held in trust for Ms Cawley's daughter until she turns 18 later this year.

But Mr Lillis will be entitled to keep his share of everything the couple owned together which means he could still enjoy a nest egg of €2m from the couple's three homes in Howth, north Co Dublin; a house in Sutton; and a home in Hossegor in France.

Lillis has already benefited to the tune of more than €350,000 from the voluntary winding up of the couple's television advertising company.

As well as the properties, he will also be entitled to half of whatever cash is held in the couple's joint bank accounts.

Ms Cawley made her will on June 7, 1993 and directed her husband to be executor of the will with brother Mr Cawley and his wife Sorca as legal guardians to her daughter.


She originally said she intended to "bequeath all property" to her husband Eamonn "for his own use absolutely".

Ms Cawley's will stipulated if her husband pre-deceased her then she wanted the estate to go to her children -- the couple had just one child.

The document was signed as her "last will and testament" in the presence of her father James, a solicitor, and Susanna Cawley, who was then an apprentice solicitor.

Earlier this year, a jury of six men and six women found Lillis not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Following a 16-day-trial, the jury found that the State had failed to prove the television advertising producer intended to murder Ms Cawley on December 15, 2008, at their home on Windgate Road, Howth. Lillis had initially claimed to gardai that he had disturbed an intruder who had attacked his wife. He later admitted to his daughter and a woman with whom he had been having an affair that he had been involved in a row with Ms Cawley.

Mr Justice Barry White later criticised him as "self-serving" and said his expression of remorse "rang hollow".

Lillis ignored a 21-day window to lodge an appeal against his February 5 conviction and is incarcerated at Dublin's Wheatfield Prison.

He shares a prison landing with another killer, Dubliner Finn Colclough, who is serving a manslaughter sentence for knifing a teenager to death outside his home in Ballsbridge. Other high-profile wife killers at the prison include David Bourke, Brian Kearney and Anton Mulder.

Lillis has been given a single cell and assigned work duties in the prison's print shop.

Irish Independent

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