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Alone in Cell 12, tearful Lillis has a restless night

Wife killer Eamonn Lillis spent a "restless and tearful" night in jail on the eve of his sentencing.

Cell 12 on the B2 landing of Cloverhill prison was his accommodation for the night -- light years away from the luxury of his split-level bungalow home on Howth Hill.

Sources at the jail told the Herald today: "He did not settle at all during the night. He was very restless and at times tearful."

While he was not on "suicide watch", he was under special observation.

The B2 landing is set aside for a small number of high-profile prisoners. "He was given special attention during the night and was observed in tears," said an officer.


He was given a single cell, a luxury that may not be afforded him when he moves today.

Wheatfield prison in Clondalkin, close to Cloverhill, has some 450 cells but only 100 of them now offer single cell accommodation, because of the "doubling up" practice brought about by overcrowding.

For the family of his wife Celine Cawley and his 17-year-old daughter, today brought closure to the courtroom ordeal as they waited for Mr Justice Barry White to finally pass sentence.

Overnight, the judge considered the harrowing detail of Celine's sister's Victim Impact Statement, another statement made by the couple's daughter but not read to the court and previous sentencing judgments of the Central criminal Court and the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Celine's family yesterday finally got an apology from the 52-year-old TV advertising director, but only 13 months after the brutal death of their "good-humoured, roguish, fun, caring and compassionate" sister and daughter.

The trauma they have been through was graphically described by Celine's sister, Susanna Coonan in her Victim Impact Statement, where she told of her nightly recurring images of a blood-soaked Celine lying, dying on her own patio.

She said she was haunted by the endless questions which ran through her head, wondering if her sister was frightened, if she knew she was dying and if she thought of her daughter.

The horror of her death was compounded by Eamonn Lillis's "treacherous lies" in the days that followed which were "overwhelming". His lack of remorse and failure to apologise over 13 months were also "hard to credit".

Mr Justice White has also been studying the statements of two of Lillis's closest friends describing him as a mild-mannered, loving father and a kind, compassionate, faithful friend, and the final statement of Lillis himself where he apologised to the Cawley family.

Through his lawyer Brendan Grehan, Lillis said Celine Cawley was his "partner in every sense of the word" and he loved her very much.