Lillis to walk free seven years after manslaughter of wife

Eamonn Lillis, who brutally killed his wife on the patio of their Dublin home almost seven years ago, is expected to be a free man this week-end.

Lillis to walk free seven years after manslaughter of wife

Lillis, a 57-year-old father of one, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Celine Cawley, 46, at their home in Windgate Rd, Howth, in December 2008.

After repeatedly bashing his wife’s head with a brick, he attempted to cover his tracks by blaming an intruder for her death.

However, it was quickly established that his wife, a film producer, died after the couple became engaged in a struggle.

During the court hearing, Lillis said he knew his wife was bleeding at the time but did not think she was seriously inured.

It also emerged during the trial that Lillis had changed his clothes and hidden them in the attic before alerting emergency services about the attack on his wife.

Lillis was sentenced to six years and 11 months in prison in February 2010 but his jail term was reduced to just over five years after good behaviour and remission were taken into account.

Lillis had been charged with murder but a jury found him guilty of manslaughter.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Barry White, said expressions of remorse by Lillis had rung hollow and he was satisfied he could take the lies, deceit, and the cover-up into account in determining the sentence.

The judge told Lillis the only positive act he carried out on the day his wife died was to call the emergency services and try to revive her. “Your expression of remorse rings hollow to me,” Mr Justice White said.

The Irish Prison Service would not confirm that Ellis was being freed from prison. It had been widely anticipated that he would be freed this month.

“The IPS does not comment on individual prisoners for security and operational reasons,” a spokesperson said yesterday.

Lillis is believed to have amassed over €1m, accrued from the sale of the family home and an investment apartment in Dublin. He also got cash from the liquidation of his wife’s television production companies and investment shares.

His daughter Georgia and Celine’s brother and sister lost a High Court battle to stop him getting half of the assets, which he and his wife held jointly.

In a similar legal action taken in connection with a holiday home in France, Lillis was awarded nothing — he was found to be unworthy of retaining the property.

Last November, the Law Reform Commission announced it would review the law with the aim of preventing a husband or wife retaining property they jointly own with a spouse that they killed.

During his time in prison Lillis honed his artistic skills — a number of works by ‘EL’, believed to have been produced by Lillis, were shown in a prison art exhibition.


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