Friday 19 January 2018

Daughter forgives father for row with her mother but not his 'lie'

Ciaran Byrne and Natasha Reid

The teenage daughter of murder-accused Eamonn Lillis told a court yesterday she forgave him for the row which led to the death of her mother.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told her father's murder trial that she understood why he initially made up a story about an attack by an intruder.

"I was brought up not to lie, so I didn't really appreciate what he did in that respect but I understand that he panicked to save him," the teenager told the Central Criminal Court.

Giving evidence via a live video link from a special room for child witnesses, she said her father had told her about the row he had had with her mother.

"I don't remember word for word. It had just been the world's worst Christmas," she said. "They had a fight and that was it. It was on the decking. That's all I know.

"He just said she slipped and they had a bit of a scuffle and that was it."

Mr Lillis (52) is on trial for allegedly murdering his 46-year-old wife Celine Cawley on December 15, 2008.

The advertising executive has pleaded not guilty to her murder at their home in Howth, Co Dublin.

Prosecuting counsel Mary Ellen Ring asked his daughter what he had said about telling the gardai that there had been a burglary.

"He said he hid his clothes because he said he didn't know what to do. He said he panicked," she said.

"He said he did it for me, but I don't really appreciate that.

"He said that he felt sorry for what he did and could I forgive him and I said 'Yes', but couldn't really forgive him for the lie (about the intruder)," said the minor.

Defence counsel Brendan Grehan asked her about things she told gardai last March. She agreed her father told her that he and his wife had fought on an outside deck, and that her mother had slipped and hit her head on a brick.

She agreed that he had told her that her mother then picked up the brick and hit him with it; that they had a scuffle; that she slipped again; that she bit his finger and that he panicked.

But she could not recall whether her parents had rowed about meal worms for their robin. Mr Grehan also asked her about not forgiving her father for telling lies.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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