Sunday 25 February 2018

Gardener wanted to confront killer on false accusation

Shane Hickey

THE innocent man initially pinpointed by Eamonn Lillis wanted to confront the killer out of frustration over the false accusation, his family said yesterday.

And the family of Stephen Larkin is now demanding an apology from members of the local community in Howth who vilified the former gardener after he was wrongly connected with the death of Celine Cawley.

Mr Larkin (30) had worked as a landscape gardener for Ms Cawley up to a year before her death. On the morning of the killing, he was awoken by gardai for questioning after Lillis pointed the finger at him.

Mr Larkin's brother-in-law said the period up to the sentencing had been highly traumatic for the whole family and a stigma had been attached to the innocent man.

On a few occasions, the pair had passed each other on the street but Mr Larkin backed down from confronting Lillis. When he was working for the couple, he always dealt with Ms Cawley and had few dealings with the convicted killer.


"I think he has passed him once or twice on the opposite side of the road when Lillis was going to sign on at the garda station. But my brother-in-law doesn't look for any kind of trouble, he just wants to walk on and get on with his own life," Sean, who did not give his second name, told RTE's 'Liveline'.

"He said he would love to go over, grab him and shake him and say, 'What have you done? Why me? What have I done to deserve this?' But you can't do that. Because he has done something bad, you can't do something bad then to counteract it."

After he was questioned, Mr Larkin was ostracised from sections of the small community in Howth, where some automatically associated him with the death even though he had no connection to it.

"I think now it has come out in the open that he wasn't involved in any way he can rest. He can hold his head up," Sean said.

"The family can now look at people and smile and go, 'We knew he didn't do anything, can you apologise to us now?' But nobody will, nobody will.

"A lot of people have been hurt over this and we just want people who accused him to hold their heads in shame -- shame on them for what they have said and the rumours they have spread about this guy."

When questioned about a possible civil action against Lillis, Sean said they now wanted to move on and forget about the ordeal.

Irish Independent

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