“It was like a shriek,” she said, adding that it sounded like a woman. “It struck me as very odd. It’s a very quiet road.” She looked at her watch and it was 9.30am.
“About 30 seconds later it happened again,” she said. “It was very unusual. I thought there was someone in trouble. It would have struck you as though something had happened to somebody.”
She said that later she knew something was wrong when she saw a helicopter over her neighbour’s garden, but it wasn’t until her husband said there had been an accident that she remembered the screams.
Paula Lynskey said her sister, Sorcha, is married to Ms Cawley’s brother, Chris, and she also knew Ms Cawley and her husband. She said that whenever she would visit Rowan Hill, she would ask Ms Cawley to take in the dogs, who she said could be quite intimidating.
She said she met Eamonn Lillis driving home after dropping his daughter to school about 8.30am the day Ms Cawley died.
She said that she got a “sinking feeling” when she heard that a woman matching Ms Cawley’s description had been killed on Windgate Road. She went to her sister’s house, where she said that Lillis later told the family the story about the burglar.
“He said the intruder was wearing gloves but said he’d got the markings on his face from the grapple, which seemed a bit strange,” she said.
“I said something about the horror after such a quiet morning when I met him going home,” she said. “He said that he didn’t go home, that he went to the Summit shop.”
Ms Lynskey agreed with Mr Grehan that she heard raw grief that afternoon when Lillis met his daughter.
Ms Cawley’s brother, Chris Cawley, gave evidence that Eamonn Lillis and his niece stayed with him and his wife in the days after his sister’s death. He said that on the Thursday there was a conversation about a newspaper article that said the murder weapon, a brick, had been found.
He said that Lillis described it as a ridiculous non-story, saying that everyone knew the brick was found. “Sure didn’t I hold the brick in my own hand,” said Lillis, according to Chris Cawley.
Mr Cawley’s sister- in-law, Siobhán O’Farrell, said she answered Mr Cawley’s door when Lillis came to the house from the Garda station on the day his wife died, and that she was shocked by the injuries to his face.
She said that as she showed him into a room to speak to his daughter she noticed him holding his finger. He said he thought he’d lost his nail when he grabbed the intruder’s rucksack.
Emma O’Byrne worked for Toytown Films. She said Lillis rang her in the office at 11.15am on December 15, 2008.
“He sounded quite distressed,” she recalled. “He said Celine had been attacked.”
She said Lillis told her he was in the Garda station and asked her to find out what hospital his wife was in.
The next day Lillis told her he remembered more about the previous day, including that the intruder’s coat was a different colour.