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Lillis washed his hands as wife lay dying, court told

Eamonn Lillis was accused by gardai of telling a "cock and bull" story in a bid to cover up attacking his wife, the Central Criminal Court was told.

The court heard he told gardai that scrapes on his face came from his wife's fingernails when he held the injured woman's hand to his face. He told gardai a burglar attacked and fatally injured his wife at their home in Dublin on December 15, 2008.

Lillis (52) of Rowan Hill, Windgate Road, Howth, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife Celine Cawley.

He suggested to gardai there may have been a second intruder who could have moved his bloodstained clothes to the attic after the first one killed his wife.

His 46-year-old wife died in Beaumont Hospital of blunt force trauma to the head after Lillis said he found an intruder attacking her on their patio. He has since admitted that there was no intruder.

Details of interviews between gardai and Lillis were recounted in the court yesterday.

Detective Sergeant Fionnula Olohan said Lillis was definite that the attacker was wearing gloves when she and Detective Enda Mulryan interviewed him at Contarf.

He was asked why his dogs had not reacted. "Molly's very laid back. Sam, the Ridgeback, is very cowardly," he replied.

He was asked to account for the time lapse between 9.30am when a neighbour heard two screams and 10.02am when he made the 999 call.

"I blanked out. I don't know how long for," he said.

When asked why there was no blood on the clothes he said he was wearing at the time, he said he wasn't at his wife's injured head and that there was blood on his hands before he washed them to dial 999.

"Your wife was lying dying and you took the time to wash your hands," said a garda.

Detective Garda Paul Donoghue told Paul Greene, prosecuting, that he interviewed Mr Lillis at 1.15am on December 21, 2008, after the prisoner declined to suspend questioning and rest in a cell.

"Did you murder your wife on Monday?" he was asked.

"On the advice of my solicitor, no comment," he replied. "I will say for the record, no," he added.

Lillis denied the detective's suggestion is wife was "a dominant person, slightly on the bullying side". "You were the second-class citizen?" asked the detective, telling him they knew he earned €100,000 while she earned €500,000. "No comment," he replied.

Accusing Lillis of wanting to have sex "every day in exciting place" with a 31-year-old woman he had met, the detective said: "You've been unfaithful to your wife, you've shown very little sorrow for your loss and now you tell us this cock-and-bull story about a burglar," he said.

The trial continues on Monday.

hnews@herald.ie


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