On his second day in the witness box Eamonn Lillis was talking fiction. He was being cross examined on the note gardai found in his bedroom, the note that sounded suspiciously like the story of his affair with Jean Treacy and the words of a man angst ridden at his place in a love triangle.
This was not the case, Mr Lillis was adamant. It was a treatment for a film script he had been working on. He had been working on a script for ages, he had notes and journals to prove it. His idea was based on a true story but it was fiction and the note was fiction too, even if it did use real names.
Mr Lillis proceeded to weave a rather chaotic account of his idea. It had been sparked by a project they had been filming for Irish Permanent, he said. The film crew had been in place filming a bank robbery and a passer by thought they were filming a reconstruction for Crime Line. That was the spark, he said. He had thought, wouldn’t it be a good story to have a film crew filming a robbery but they really were robbing the place.
What about the note, prosecution counsel Mary Ellen Ring wanted to know. That was based on the situation he found himself in but it was just fiction as well, he told her. He had woken one night at about three or four in the morning and the idea had come to him. It would have made a good simple script. He had left the note where he could find it to bring into the office and work on it there. It was about two characters who were running out of time…it bore no relation to persons living or dead, or at least to what had happened later.
Mr Lillis denies murdering his wife, Celine Cawley at their home in Howth on December 15th 2008. Today he denied hitting her three times with a brick. Ms Ring pointed out that two of the head wounds Celine had when she died were horizontal, as if made with a brick, rather than vertical as would be expected if she had hit her head of the living room window in a struggle as Mr Lillis had said. Mr Lillis replied emphatically “That’s not true.”
Today was the final day of evidence. Tomorrow will start with the closing speeches of prosecution and defence and then it will be up to Judge Barry White to summarise the evidence for the jury and charge them to begin their deliberations. The courtroom was packed today, as it has been every day of the trial. Dozens of members of the public squashed into the limited standing room in Court 19. One watcher had even brought his guide dog, which narrowly avoided being trampled as it lay patiently through the proceedings.
It’s been a while since there was a trial like this. And it will be a while until there’s another one. I sincerely hope the ghoulish curiosity of some of the more lascivious rubber neckers is sufficiently sated.