Saturday 16 November 2019

Ghost of Christmas past caught on video in hi-tech courtroom

Nicola Anderson

GOLD tinsel merrily bedecked the picture frames and an old child's rocking horse stood motionless.

A Christmas stocking dangled from the handles of an exercise bike in one of the bedrooms.

Eerily quiet and deserted, the house showed all the signs of a family getting ready for Christmas.

With a sense of voyeuristic unease we wandered -- courtesy of the garda video camera -- on a strange, almost ghoulish, tour of the home Celine Cawley shared with her husband.

The use of such technology is a recent innovation in the legal system, allowing the courtroom and jury, like never before, to visualise the scene.

We wandered up to the sparsely decorated bedroom used by Eamonn Lillis and then into the attic room, where we spotted an elaborate doll's house atop a pile of children's books and cardboard boxes left over from toys.

Later yesterday, we heard that it was at the bottom of this pile that gardai found the suitcase containing the bloodstained clothing shown in court.

There was a sharp intake of breath and Ms Cawley's elderly father, Jim, dissolved into silent tears as a pair of bloodstained jeans was held aloft in court.

He was comforted by his son, Chris, and daughter-in-law Sorcha. His only remaining daughter, Susanna, bowed her head in grief.

Across the courtroom, Mr Lillis appeared to be busily reading his interview notes.

In the afternoon, the family had to deal with the revelations of Mr Lillis's affair with his massage therapist, Jean Treacy -- shaking their heads as the details became clear.

Irish Independent

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