Wednesday 17 January 2018

Accused was 'lap

Claims Celine a 'bully' who earned five times more than husband

Eamonn Lillis, is pleading not guilty to the murder of his wife, Celine Cawley, in their home in Howth, Co Dublin, just over a year ago.
Eamonn Lillis, is pleading not guilty to the murder of his wife, Celine Cawley, in their home in Howth, Co Dublin, just over a year ago.

Nicola Anderson

MURDER accused Eamonn Lillis was a "second-class citizen" and a "lap dog" in his marriage to advertising executive Celine Cawley, who was a "dominant person, slightly on the bullying side", his trial heard yesterday.

It emerged in court that Ms Cawley was paid five times more than Mr Lillis at Toytown Productions, the advertising firm they ran together. She earned €500,000 a year while Mr Lillis earned €100,000, the Central Criminal Court heard.

Interviewing Mr Lillis on December 20, 2008, five days after the brutal death of his wife on the patio at the back of their Howth family home, gardai put it to him that his wife had been a "dominant person, slightly on the bullying side".

It was suggested to him that she would regularly shout at him: "Come here, do this, do that" and that he was a "lap-dog".

Under cross-questioning by Brendan Grehan, for the defence, yesterday, Detective Garda Pat Flood of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation Unit at Harcourt Street agreed he had pursued this line of questioning with Mr Lillis during the interview.

He had put it to Mr Lillis that people had described his late wife as a "strong, dominant, opinionated person".

Mr Grehan then suggested to Det Gda Flood that it was quite clear from the investigation that she had been a "formidable person and a formidable businesswoman" who had succeeded in a ruthlessly competitive industry which was largely male-dominated. However, Det Gda Flood demurred at this, saying he could not "go that far".


Jean Treacy, who was allegedly having an affair with Mr Lillis, had told gardai he had spoken to her of his getting a possible divorce.

However, when gardai had told him this, he told them divorce had never come up.

Earlier, the court heard gardai had confronted Mr Lillis with the plastic refuse bag of bloodied garments and camera equipment found in the attic.

When he insisted it had been the work of a burglar, gardai had scoffed: "You're in the film business. You should be better at making things up than this. The description here wouldn't hack it on 'Postman Pat'."

Mr Grehan put it to Det Gda Flood that despite mounting evidence, Mr Lillis had "stuck to the burglar story", and the garda agreed that he had.

Mr Lillis was also asked in a garda interview if his dogs would not go mad if there was a violent intruder.

"Molly's very laid back. Sam, the ridgeback, is very cowardly," he replied.

"Don't you think a Rhodesian ridgeback would attack someone attacking his master?" he was asked.

"You don't know our Sam ... He would put his tail between his legs and run."

Mr Lillis had been told that a neighbour of the couple's house at Rowan Hill, Windgate Road, Howth, Co Dublin, had heard a scream at 9.30am which would indicate this was the time Ms Cawley had been attacked.

Asked by gardai why it had taken him so long to contact the emergency services, at 10.04am, Mr Lillis said he had "blacked out" and that he didn't know how long for.

Of the scratches on his forehead, Mr Lillis said: "That was Celine. When I held her hand to my face I pulled her hand down. I didn't even know there were marks there." He later told gardai his wife had "very sharp nails". Gardai had asked Mr Lillis if the scratches had not been inflicted by his wife fighting off her attacker, who had "as a dying defence" scratched his face. "No," he had replied.

Gardai produced a note that had been found in the house as an exhibit. It referred to the impending marriage of a woman.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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