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Lillis: 'I didn't do it, I swear before God I couldn't do it to Celine'

THE husband of murder victim Celine Cawley was having an affair with a masseuse at a local beauty salon.

Details of the affair emerged during garda interviews when murder-accused Eamonn Lillis (52) admitted having an affair with Jean Treacy, the murder trial heard yesterday.

Ms Treacy had been engaged to marry someone else at the time.

"I did have an affair, but it had absolutely nothing to do with all this (the murder investigation)," he told gardai.

He claimed that, personally and professionally, he and his wife Celine had been "very, very close" and that she had been "a tower of strength" for him.

Asked if he had loved Celine, he replied: "God, yes."

He later said he would not have left Ms Cawley, especially because of his daughter.

"I would hate to break up a family," he said.

As revelations of the affair emerged in Court 19 of the Central Criminal Court yesterday, Ms Cawley's family shook their heads in shock and disbelief.

A colleague of Ms Treacy's come forward in the wake of Ms Cawley's death and then Ms Treacy herself gave a statement to the gardai.

Mr Lillis initially denied the affair, but admitted it upon continued questioning throughout the course of the interview which had been conducted the day he was arrested on December 20, 2008 -- five days after his wife's death.

Ms Treacy told gardai the affair had been going on for the past 10 weeks and that she had been at their house three times.

The relationship had begun during a massage treatment at the Howth Haven Salon where she worked and where Mr Lillis used to go for a weekly back massage.

During the treatment, Mr Lillis had asked her what she was thinking and, taking his hand and placing it on her pulse, she said: "This is what I am thinking."

A week later they kissed in one of the treatment rooms.

The following Monday was Ms Treacy's day off and they had sexual relations at his home at Rowan Hill, Windgate Road, Howth, where Mr Lillis lived with his wife -- she was away in London at the time.

Mr Lillis bought Ms Treacy a mobile phone and texted her every day. Ms Treacy, in interviews with gardai, claimed Mr Lillis had told her that he was unhappy in his marriage but when this was put to Mr Lillis he had replied "no comment".

During questioning about Ms Treacy, Mr Lillis initially denied anything was amiss, saying Ms Cawley had gone to the Howth Haven for treatments too.

Gardai told Mr Lillis that he had been spotted at various places with Ms Treacy, including buying a coat in Brown Thomas in Dublin city centre and at the Pavillions Shopping Centre in Swords.

However, he did not confess to the affair until gardai eventually told him Ms Treacy had come forward.


When gardai put it to Mr Lillis that he seemed to be infatuated with Ms Treacy, he said it had been a "mid-life crisis".

Gardai told Mr Lillis they had a statement from somebody who had claimed his marriage was a "sexless marriage", which had suited both he and Ms Cawley. However, he said this was "not true".

When asked if he had been jealous that Ms Treacy had been due to get married that following June, Mr Lillis laughed and said: "I don't do jealous."

He admitted he was going to meet Ms Treacy in town the day of his wife's death, but when asked if his wife had found out about this, he replied: "No."

Asked if he had had sex with Ms Treacy in his bedroom, he said he didn't want to talk about it.

Gardai told Mr Lillis he was universally considered to be a "kind, gentle, caring soul" and asked him if he had "just flipped" that morning.

But he insisted: "I didn't do it, I swear before God I couldn't do it to Celine."

Under continuing garda questioning, Mr Lillis said they had not had a row, adding: "We'd had rows before over the years but never like that.

"I just wouldn't be capable; not to my wife, not to her, I couldn't do that to anyone."

Upon his initial arrest at 6.55am on December 20, 2008, the court heard that Mr Lillis had asked: "What's the basis for this?"

Earlier yesterday, bloodstained clothes found in a suitcase in the attic of the home shared by Ms Cawley and Mr Lillis were held up for exhibit at the trial.

A pair of worn blue jeans, which were heavily bloodstained on the legs and crotch, white socks, a pair of black outdoor gloves, a black jumper, a pair of blue rubber gloves and a pair of striped boxer shorts, all with blood stains on them, were uncovered in a search of the house. The clothes had been in a black refuse sack contained in a black suitcase found in the attic.

Other items uncovered in the garda search included a man's watch, which appeared to have been cleaned but on later examination was revealed to have tissue and blood embedded in the links; a brick wrapped in a tea-towel which was uncovered in the kitchen; and a bloodstained polo-shirt found among clean clothes in a bedroom wardrobe.

The case continues.

Irish Independent