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Man pleads not guilty to murder of his wife in home

THE husband of successful businesswoman Celine Cawley yesterday pleaded not guilty to murdering her at the couple's home.

Eamonn Lillis (51) is charged with killing Ms Cawley in December 2008.

In a quiet but firm voice, Mr Lillis answered "not guilty" when the question was put to him.

The jury panel sitting in an adjoining room and watching the proceedings on a TV screen did not hear him, however, and so the arraignment had to be done again. And again Mr Lillis replied as before, "not guilty".

It is the first time in a murder panel that a jury was allowed to watch from a nearby room before the 12 jurors were formally chosen.

Clad in a dark suit, white shirt and navy tie, and with large circles under his eyes, Mr Lillis appeared as though he had slept little the night before.


It is doubtful whether Mr Lillis knew or cared that he will be going down in history as the accused in the first murder trial to be held at the new Courts of Criminal Justice complex on Dublin's Parkgate Street.

One would-be juror said he was a first cousin of the victim, Ms Cawley, and so was automatically excused from taking part in the trial.

Several other candidates were self-employed and so were also promptly excused by Judge Paul Carney -- who was, perhaps, mindful of the recession.

Eventually the jury of six men and six women was selected.

The trial will begin in Court 19 at 11am today, Judge Carney instructed them, putting Mr Lillis on continuing bail.

Defence barrister Brendan Grehan said he expected the hearing to take three weeks but Judge Carney warned jurors it may run for several days more.

Celine Cawley (46) was a successful businesswoman who ran television commercials company Toytown Films and was responsible for the popular TV ad for Walker's Crisps which featured Roy Keane as a leprechaun. Mr Lillis worked for Toytown Films as a producer.

She was a former model who also played a minor role as a party girl in the James Bond movie 'A View to a Kill'.

In December 2008, the mother of a teenage daughter was discovered with severe head injuries on the back patio of their home at Windgate Road in the Dublin suburb of Howth.

Irish Independent