Tuesday 24 April 2018

Lillis turned down move to open prison to dodge media attention

Eamonn Lillis
Eamonn Lillis
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Wife-killer Eamonn Lillis is expected to walk free from Wheatfield Prison today after serving just over five years for the manslaughter of Celine Cawley.

His official release date is Saturday, but it is expected that the prison authorities will free him before then.

While behind bars, Lillis (57) made a number of requests to be transferred to the open prison at Shelton Abbey, near Arklow. But these were rejected by the authorities until May last year, when it was decided to sanction the move.

The transfer was seen as the first step in getting him ready for his release this month, and prison officials were planning to organise a special programme for him as he adjusted to a new life of minimum security.

There are no prison bars at Shelton, and he could walk out the front gate if he wished.

However, at the last minute Lillis changed his mind when he learnt of the massive media interest in the transfer and the likelihood of journalists trying to catch a glimpse of him in the more relaxed environment.

Lillis opted to serve the rest of his sentence in Wheatfield and continued his study interests in literacy and art courses.

Prison sources said Lillis had quickly established himself as a trusted inmate in Wheatfield and was initially allocated cleaning duties in the prison before being deployed in the library, a post sources said he particularly enjoyed.

Internal reports on his behaviour in the jail showed him to be "squeaky clean", and he was always considered likely to qualify for the maximum remission.

Lillis (57), a father of one, was jailed for killing his wife, businesswoman and former model Celine Cawley, at their home in Windgate Road, Howth, in north Dublin in December 2008.

He was sentenced to a prison term of six years and 11 months in February 2010 after a jury found him guilty of the manslaughter of his wife.

As a result of his good behaviour, he qualifies for a remission of a quarter of his sentence.

Irish Independent

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