Friday 23 March 2018

Wife's blood found on jumper worn by husband, trial told

Nicola Anderson

BLOOD and tissue imbedded in the clasp of a watch found on Eamonn Lillis's bedside table matched that of Celine Cawley, a forensic expert told the court.

The presence of blood-stained tissues and kitchen paper found concealed in the attic of the couple's home at Rowan Hill, Windgate Road, Howth, Co Dublin, showed that there had been "a clear attempt to clean up blood", the murder trial at the Central Criminal Court heard yesterday.

Dr Hillary Clarke of the Forensic Science Laboratory, who carried out tests on items of clothing and swabs taken from the scene, said the blood and DNA samples had matched Eamonn Lillis and Celine Cawley and no third party DNA had been found.

Meanwhile, diluted blood staining found on the inside of the jumper worn by Mr Lillis at the time the authorities arrived at the scene were consistent with the jumper having been put on while the right arm was wet with Ms Cawley's blood. Dr Clarke told the court this was "the only way it could have got there".

She said she would have had a "high expectation" of finding a large area of contact staining on Mr Lillis's clothing if he had administered CPR to his injured wife because Ms Cawley's own clothes had been heavily blood-soaked -- but she only found a "very small amount of staining" on his upper garments.

However, in cross-questioning, defence counsel Brendan Grehan recalled Gda Tony Clune who had witnessed Mr Lillis carrying out CPR on his wife. Blood and hair was found on the brick found near the body of Ms Cawley on the patio, but attempts to extract DNA samples from these had been unsuccessful.

A pair of black runner boots found in a wardrobe at the house showed airborne blood staining, meaning the boots had been "nearby when blood matching Celine Cawley's travelled through the air".

Throughout Dr Clarke's evidence Mr Lillis wrote busily, keeping his head bowed.

Two women who have accompanied Mr Lillis to court every day each listened to Dr Clarke with a hand held to their mouths. Dr Clarke carried out tests on the grey hooded sweatshirt, grey T-shirt and green combat trousers worn by Mr Lillis and taken from him by gardai at Howth garda station after his wife's death had been discovered.

These showed a small amount of blood on the cuffs, with diluted blood staining on the inside of the right sleeve, consistent with it having been put on while the right arm was wet with blood.


There was very small blood staining on the inside of the T-shirt. A watch found on the bedside locker in the room used by Mr Lillis had tissue and blood embedded in the clasp that matched Ms Cawley's DNA. It appeared the watch had been wiped, Dr Clarke said.

Clothing in a black suitcase found by gardai in a search of the attic at the family home was also tested. A black jumper showed heavy contact staining on the front, there were blood stains on the front of a pair of jeans, and there were light spots of blood on a pair of blue and white striped boxer shorts. A pair of black outdoor gloves were heavily blood-stained on the right glove and a pair of blue latex gloves were heavily stained. All the items tested positive for Celine Cawley's DNA, another forensic scientist, Dr Linda Williams, said later. Seven pieces of kitchen paper matched Ms Cawley's profile, while tissue in the bag matched Mr Lillis's. There had been a clear attempt to clean up blood, Dr Clarke said.

Blood drops on a cream roller-blind had come from Ms Cawley, while swabs from the bathroom sink had matched both Ms Cawley and Mr Lillis.

Swabs from blood spatters on the outside wall at the patio had also matched Ms Cawley.

Later, Ms Cawley's brother, Christopher Cawley, told the court how Mr Lillis and his daughter had stayed in his house in the days following Ms Cawley's death.

Three days after the death, he had a conversation with Mr Lillis about an article that had appeared in the 'Evening Herald' newspaper that had revealed how a brick had been used as the alleged murder weapon. He recalled how Mr Lillis had said it was a "non-story, ridiculous because everybody knows the brick was found. Sure, didn't I hold the brick in my own hand?" Mr Lillis had been prescribed Valium and sleeping tablets, he added under cross-questioning.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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