Wednesday 21 February 2018

Lillis keeps head bowed as women take stand

Nicola Anderson

A SUCCESSION of glamorous and well-heeled women took the stand in the afternoon to give their recollections of events surrounding the death of Celine Cawley.

Their evidence was brief -- they had heard or perhaps seen something that day that had caught their attention.

But whether neighbour, friend, school principal or employee, Eamonn Lillis never lifted his head from his notes to acknowledge them.

Paula Lynskey, a freelance television producer, was a family friend of Ms Cawley and Mr Lillis for many years. She recalled passing Mr Lillis in the car as she dropped her children to school that day -- he appeared to be on the way home.

She met Mr Lillis at Ms Cawley's brother Christopher's house later that evening and heard him give an account of grappling with an intruder. He said the intruder had worn gloves but that had struck her as strange because of the markings on Lillis's face.

Elegant in ruffled grey cashmere, Pauline Frazer, a neighbour of Ms Cawley, stepped into the witness box. She had heard two "high pitched screams" on the morning of Ms Cawley's death.


She had been sleeping late that morning because she had been visiting her mother in hospital the previous day, and she awoke to hear somebody scream. Thirty seconds later, she heard another.

Siobhan O'Farrell, whose sister Sorcha is married to Ms Cawley's brother, told the court of being shocked to see the scrapes and bruises to Mr Lillis's face that day when she met him at Christopher and Sorcha's home in Howth.

Cross-examined by Brendan Grehan for the defence, she said she had known Ms Cawley and Mr Lillis for many years but she said Ms Cawley had seemed "very private".

And she agreed that Celine had been the more dominant of the two.

An elegant blonde in black designer glasses, Emma O'Byrne, was next. A commercials producer at Toytown Productions -- the company owned by Ms Cawley -- she recalled how Mr Lillis had phoned her in work that morning.

He sounded "quite distressed" as he told her how Ms Cawley had been attacked and he wanted Ms O'Byrne to find out what hospital she had been taken to.

Under cross-questioning, she agreed Ms Cawley had done all the "hiring and firing" and had been the main decision maker.

"She was strong. She was the boss, really," Ms O'Byrne said.

"What did Lillis do?" Mr Grehan asked.

Ms O'Byrne said he had taken more of a backseat in the company and would not have been involved in the day-to-day running. He handled more of the domestic side and was at home more with his teenage daughter.

"He was not in the office as much as Celine would have been," she added.

Neither she nor Mr Lillis looked at one another as she walked directly past him.

Irish Independent

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