| 10.6°C Dublin

Aoife Finneran: "She said you were getting a massage ... and you asked her what she was thinking. She took your hand and put it on her pulse and said: 'That's what I'm thinking'."

A portrait of a man mired in a mid-life crisis.

At the time of his wife Celine's death, murder accused Eamonn Lillis had been carrying on a 10-week affair with his local massage therapist, Jean Treacy.

He was "infatuated" with the woman, bringing her for illicit sexual liaisons in his home on three occasions when his wife and daughter were away. There were also several meetings -- scheduled or otherwise -- in locations around Dublin; Cocoon bar in the city centre, the Pavilion in Swords, Newbridge House and a number of pubs.

Around this time, he was also attempting to work his way through a "resolution list", compiled over a bottle of wine with his wife as he attempted to work out his future goals.

Yesterday, as a rapt audience in a packed courtroom drank in the intimate details of Lillis's life, he was forced to wave goodbye to the last vestiges of his privacy.

It must have been a trying morning for the accused, as prosecution counsel waded painstakingly through the evidence, some of which was of a deeply personal nature.

During the morning hearing, he was forced to contend with the invasive sight of DVD footage, flashing up on the large TV screens as it played a detailed virtual tour of the home he shared with Celine.

Then there was the public display of several items of his clothing, right down to personal belongings like boxers and socks.

On the day of Celine's death, he had handed in a set of clothes to gardai at Howth station.

Yet during their search of the house, gardai had also uncovered a set of heavily blood-stained clothes wrapped in a plastic refuse bag and stashed in a Ripcurl suitcase in the attic. Each item in turn was then removed from an evidence bag and held aloft for the benefit of the jury.

Lillis didn't flinch, no emotion showed on his face as he watched the display. Nor did he show any reaction during the 20-minute film of the interior of his house. It was a deeply personal glimpse into family life, giving the jury an unhindered view of the living areas, bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, and even the private jumble of belongings stored in the attic.

At the rear of the room, Celine Cawley's family was clearly finding the going tough. Huddled together were Jim Cawley, his surviving daughter Susanna and son Christopher as they viewed with anguish the exhibits on display.

In the witness box, Garda Colm MacDonnacha produced a pair of heavily blood-soaked blue jeans, prompting the Cawleys to close their eyes in unison. Next came a pair of white socks, the pale red staining visible even through the evidence bag. Black outdoor gloves followed, along with a black jumper, boxers, green rubber gloves, a tea towel and some bundled kitchen roll, all stained with blood. It was an unpleasant sight, and no doubt a harrowing image for the families of all involved in this sorry saga.

Throughout a long and tedious day in Court 19, details of Lillis's interviews with gardai were slowly revealed.

The court heard how, when first questioned about his extra-marital activities, Lillis had strongly denied it.

Following his arrest on December 20, 2008, five days after his wife's death, he had been arrested and questioned at Clontarf Garda Station.

"I've never had an affair," he told gardai in an interview. "As far as I know, Celine never had one either." Asked if he loved his wife, the answer was emphatic: "God, yes."

Gardai told him they had learned that he was in a sexless relationship with his wife, a relationship that suited them both. The accused insisted it wasn't true, explaining: "Our relationship, on a professional and on a personal level, was very, very close. We were really good friends. She was a tower of strength to me, really."

He did, however, offer that he usually slept upstairs while Celine slept downstairs, explaining: "She snored a lot and kicked around."

Little by little, the details of his extra-marital affair were teased out. Lillis told gardai he was a regular client of Howth Haven salon, where he received massages, usually with a girl called Jean.

"Did you ever have sex with her?" gardai asked.

"No, Jesus, no. Absolutely not," came the response.

However, by then Jean Treacy had already spoken to gardai, allowing them to build a picture of the relationship between the pair. In the interviewing room, Detective Garda Paul Donoghue recounted what he had been told by Jean Treacy.

"She said you were getting a massage in Howth Haven and you asked her what she was thinking. She took your hand and put it on her pulse and said: 'That's what I'm thinking'."

Furthermore, Jean Treacy had told gardai that she'd had sex with Lillis for the first time at Rowan Hill on a Monday -- her day off -- while Celine and her daughter were in London.

She had also told them that Lillis had admitted he was unhappy in his marriage and had said so to his wife.

Jean Treacy had been due to get married the following summer.

Asked if he was jealous about this, Lillis simply replied: "I don't do jealous."

Once again, he tried to convince gardai of his innocence, insisting: "I didn't kill her. I swear before God, I couldn't do it to Celine."