Tuesday 20 February 2018

Nicola Anderson: Words tumble out as accused rushes to defend his note

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

STEPPING forward once again into the witness box and straightening himself up, it was clear the weekend had not been kind to Eamonn Lillis.

A little more haggard, he had apparently attempted to distract himself over the last few days by getting a haircut.

Yesterday was the worst day we have seen yet in terms of overcrowding in Courtroom 19 -- apparently, the largest courtroom in the all-new, deluxe Criminal Courts complex.

There is but limited seating in which to accommodate gardai, families, media and public.

The architects had not seen fit to include public galleries in their plans for this building. It made for a difficult and stifling atmosphere with more than 200 people squeezing into the courtroom.

Oblivious to all this attention he has attracted, Mr Lillis had other matters on his mind, compressing his colourless lips as Mary Ellen Ring, for the prosecution, resumed her intensive cross-questioning of him.

Ms Ring wondered about the drops of blood found in a forensic examination of the scene about five and a quarter feet from the ground. His wife was 5ft 10in, she pointed out.

"She was actually 5ft 8in," Mr Lillis answered.

"Dr Curtis says she was 5ft 10in," Ms Ring said, adding: "I don't think he was challenged on it."

"Well I was married to her and she was 5ft 8in," Mr Lillis snapped quietly.

Presently, Ms Ring turned to the matter of the note found on the bedside locker in a search of the house at Rowan Hill, Windgate Road, Howth.

Mr Lillis agreed it was in his writing.

"She will get that wedding dress," read Ms Ring.

Jean Treacy was due to get married, she queried. Yes, Mr Lillis agreed.

"She will marry Keith next year," Ms Ring continued.

What was the name of her fiance -- yes, it was Keith and yes, she was to marry in June, Ms Ring pondered aloud.

"She will send out the invites in January. The only way to be with her is to live here." "Where -- in Howth?" asked Ms Ring.

Mr Lillis looked impatient -- this was an idea he had been working on himself -- he could back it up with notes and journals.

"Think of the positives in developing a new relationship," Ms Ring continued to read. "You will never take her to France."

"You have a house in France?" she looked up to point out this fact to him. "She will never share your bed."

"It's not about me," Lillis brushed away her query.

"You are running out of time," Ms Ring finished.

Mr Lillis rushed to explain, his words tumbling out in a rapid and somewhat confusing cascade. He had been filming an ad for Irish Permanent and a member of the public came up to ask about it, thinking they were filming a reconstruction for 'Crime Line'.

Wouldn't it be funny, Mr Lillis had thought, if a film crew had pulled off the robbery?

He started work on it but realised he needed a script. At 4am one morning in November, he woke up and scribbled down a few notes.

The note wasn't about him -- it was about three different characters involved, he repeated.

"You are running out of time," Ms Ring read again from the note.

Not him -- two of the characters were running out of time, Mr Lillis explained.

"None of that except the points you mentioned had anything to do with you?" asked Ms Ring.

"And you are running out of time refers to someone else?" she asked again.

Mr Lillis nodded. Yes.

Irish Independent

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