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From a life of a luxury to spending next five years in a 14ft by 8ft cell

WIFE-KILLER Eamonn Lillis woke up today to the reality of spending five years in the bleak confines of a 14ft x 8ft cell.

For someone who liked to walk his dogs Molly and Sam daily up by the quarry on Howth Hill, the spring of 2015 is a long way away.

So too is the luxury of home life at Rowan Hill, the split-level bungalow in its own grounds on Windgate Road. He also faces the task of fighting off the soul-destroying boredom of prison routine.

It began today with the collection of a cereal breakfast and the expectation of a visit later on.

On weekdays it will be off to work in some aspect of prison life, the kitchen, laundry or library for example or taking part in a workshop or in the educational programmes provided.

He will almost certainly take advantage of the well-equipped gym to continue his daily keep-fit exercises. Many of the inmates spend weekends in the TV room watching sport, particularly soccer.

But if Lillis has no evening visit he can watch today's rugby international on his own TV in the cell.

For the moment he is being held in a single cell in one of the jail's 14 units and is under the customary suicide watch given to inmates beginning long sentences.

But pressure on space means that he is not guaranteed single cell accommodation in future.

Only around 100 of the 450 cells now enjoy that luxury.

The jail has a cross-section of society within its walls, with a large sex offenders unit and a methadone facility.

In what is a logistical nightmare for the Prison Service, Limerick gangland figures, including three Dundon brothers and Noddy McCarthy, have to be kept apart from their rivals. So too, do feuding gangsters from various Dublin gangs.

At the same time staff have to be wary of gangs from the two cities forming alliances in jail, which are then reflected on the outside.

Lillis is not on his own in the wifekilling category. Insurance man David Bourke, now aged 50, was jailed last April for the murder of his wife Jean Gilbert in a jealous rage at their home in Castleknock, Dublin, in August 2007.

He stabbed her four times in front of their three children after learning that she was set to leave him for English jazz musician Bob Campion.

Lillis is almost certain to come in to contact with Brian Kearney who was jailed for life for strangling his wife Siobhan to death at their home in Goatstown, Dublin, in February 2006.

A hotelier, she was strangled with the flex of a vacuum cleaner, and attempts were made to pass her death off as a suicide. Kearney (53) was jailed for life in March 2008 and last year lost an appeal against his conviction.

Other lifers at Wheatfield include South African Anton Mulder, who strangled his wife Coleen in December 2004.

Eamonn Lillis will be entitled to 25pc remission on his six-years-and-11- month sentence which means he should be freed in March 2015.