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Tag: Jean Treacy (Page 2 of 2)

The Mistress Speaks

The sense of anticipation in the courtroom was palpable.  There was a wall of gardai surrounding a corner at the back of the courtroom, a pretty girl behind them drinking from a water bottle through a straw.

She had dark hair, with a couple of honey coloured streaks, hanging loose to her shoulders she looked young for her 32 years.  Wearing a white blouse with black trousers she was professional, groomed and seemed quietly confident. 

The word rippled around the courtroom almost instantly.  This was it.  She was here.  Everyone had been waiting a long time to get a look at Jean Treacy, the woman who had been having a passionate affair with Eamonn Lillis when his wife, Celine Cawley was brutally killed.  Finally, today, they would get their wish.

Speaking in a quiet, lilting accent with sharper South Dublin overtones, she leaned forward into the microphone and told the court about the affair.  She had met Mr Lillis through his wife, she said, who had been a regular visit to the Howth Haven Salon where she was working at the time.  Celine had come to her for deep tissue back massage, she said, but hadn’t liked too much pain so they hadn’t been that deep.  After a while Mr Lillis started visiting her too for the same deep tissue massage his wife had.

Ms Treacy said she had started working in the salon in August 2006.  She had previously worked in marketing but had retrained as a beauty therapist.  Mr Lillis and Ms Cawley were regular clients over a period of about two years.  She usually saw Mr Lillis on a Friday afternoon.

At the start of November 2008 she had been talking to Mr Lillis about his dogs.  She told him she would love to see pictures of them and he replied that he had some on his iPod out in the car.  When she finished work at 6p.m. that evening she went out with him to the carpark.  She sat into the front seat of his car with the door open and he showed her the photographs.  She noticed his hands.  “They were just particularly nice for a man’s hands.”

The following week he had come to his appointment as normal but something was different.  The massage started as normal with her working on his back and shoulders.  He needed work on the front of his shoulder as well so she turned him over to begin work.  Ms Treacy told the court that normally a client would close their eyes when they turned over onto their back but Mr Lillis kept his open.

“He was staring at me to the point I was almost uncomfortable.”  She asked what he was thinking.  He said nothing.  But he kept staring at her and smiling.  He asked her what she was thinking but she just shook her head and kept going.  The staring continued so she asked again what was he thinking, he responded by asking her the same question back.  She told the court she put his fingers on her wrist to feel her racing pulse and said “that’s what I was thinking” and walked out of the room.

As the relationship developed they started texting and calling one another daily.  They would try to snatch a few minutes together almost every day.  As both of them were in relationships, secrecy was vital.  When they were due to meet they would send an empty text to see if the other was free to talk.  They would usually meet in carparks although she had been to his house, Rowan Hill three times.  They would generally meet on a Monday when she had a day off from the salon.

She knew he was not happy in his marriage but she said she would not have known if he hadn’t told her.  “They looked very good together.”  Four or five weeks before Ms Cawley’s death Mr Lillis told her that one morning he had told Celine that he wasn’t happy.  “Celine had said well make a list of anything you’re unhappy with and we will work on it.”  The lovers referred to this list as his “resolution list”.

Ms Treacy told the court that, despite the strength of her feelings, she had never wanted the marriage to fail and had not loved Mr Lillis.  “I realise now it was more an infatuation than anything.  That came and went.”

They had been supposed to meet on December 15th.  At around a quarter to ten she sent a blank text to Mr Lillis’s phone.  She heard nothing back.  A while later she sent another text asking him to bring the ML Jeep.  “Not from a seedy, sordid point of view”, she hastened to add.  It was more comfortable to sit in and as the windows were tinted it meant no constant looking over the shoulder.

She didn’t get any reply to that text or the ones she sent in the course of the day.  That evening, after learning of Ms Cawley’s death through a call from her boss at the salon, she texted Mr Lillis again offering her support.  He texted back saying it had been a “horrifying day, a day from hell”  She replied saying she would do anything she could to help.  He texted back “It gives me great strength to know that you are thinking of me”.

The following day she texted him suggesting they didn’t see each other for a while.  He replied that was probably a good idea but a few days later he left her a message saying that he would probably be back in the house that week and would probably see her for his massage.  He would probably need one.  At that stage she was no longer working at the salon and her boss rang him to cancel the appointment.

That was the last time she heard from him until the new year.  About 24 hours after he had been released from remand on January 6th she got a call from him on her phone.  She didn’t answer.  He left her a message asking her to call him on the house phone.  There were a few more calls but she didn’t answer any of them.

The following morning he arrived at her house.  Ms Treacy told the court that he had not knocked on the door, simply done a u-turn in the drive.

In the middle of March, after a few drinks too many, she called his phone.  It had been a stressful couple of months for her and she told defence counsel Brendan Grehan that she felt she was owed an explanation.  “It’s not that I exactly wanted to ask him straight out.”   She said “I found myself in this nightmare and I couldn’t understand how I had got it so wrong.”

She arranged to meet Mr Lillis but when she saw him again she suddenly didn’t want to know.  He insisted on telling her, saying he felt he owed her an explanation. 

Mr Lillis told her that morning Celine had asked him to put out the rubbish but he had forgotten.  “She went mad”.  Ms Treacy said Mr Lillis told her Celine then “started hurling abuse” and said “he was a terrible husband and just useless.”  Mr Lillis said told her things degenerated.  They both said “disgusting” things.

For some reason Celine had gone outside.  The ground was wet and she ended up falling.  “He made an analogy to a beach ball” saying it was “unbelievable how she just bounced back up again.”

The row continued and they grappled.  Mr Lillis told Ms Treacy that at one point he had his wife up against some glass and they both fell and fought on the ground.  “All of a sudden she started biting his finger.  She wouldn’t let go.  He just felt she would bite it off.”

Ms Treacy said that Mr Lillis had demonstrated how he used his other hand to push his wife’s forehead away to make her let go.  He told her he used a gentle steady force, not a jerky shove.  Then “all of a sudden a pool of blood appeared behind her head and Celine slipped out of consciousness.”

He told her that Celine had faded in an out of consciousness.  He had asked her was she ok and she had said she was.  At one point before she finally lost consciousness they discussed what they were going to tell their daughter to explain their physical injuries and the story of the robbery was born.

She had asked him about the brick, which had been mentioned in the press as the murder weapon.  He told her he supposed it had been behind Celine’s head while he was pushing her away.  She asked why he hadn’t come clean and admitted he had panicked and lied but Mr Lillis told her his solicitor had told him not to.

He told her he wasn’t overcome with grief but did miss his wife.  “He said he often found himself with the light on in her room and lying on her bed and he would find himself going to talk to her and realise she wasn’t there.”

Ms Treacy didn’t tell the gardai about what Mr Lillis had told her initially.  She told the court she had hoped if she broke off all contact he would get the message and go away but on May 26th she arrived at the salon in Inchicore where she now worked to find he had left a letter for her.   There were several pages of a letter and a package tied in white ribbon.  The paper was printed with the lyrics from the Beyonce song Halo.  Inside was a diamond Tiffany pendant.

She took the pendant straight to the gardai and told them her story.  As she was giving her evidence Jean Treacy hardly looked at her former lover.  She glanced down at him once but he did not meet her glance.  As she spoke he gazed intently down at his notes.  For the first time this trial he was wearing contact lenses.  From time to time he rubbed his eyes as if they were hurting.

Finally a side note.  In the television news tonight or in tomorrow’s papers you won’t see a photograph of Jean Treacy.  After she had given evidence the gardai whisked her off to the underground carpark below the new courts complex.  It’s this underground carpark that means that the convicted will no longer walk the “walk of shame” in front of the waiting snappers. 

Jean Treacy was raced out of the building in a garda van and driven off at speed.  When one photographer started to follow the van he encountered a road block.  By shielding her with a dozen officers and removing her in such a cloak and dagger manner I doubt very much gardai have ensured her privacy.

If she had run the gauntlet past the snappers on her way in to court, as her former lover must do every day of his trial, she would have had her face on the front of a few papers.  She has now become a story in her own right.  All the photographers in town will be looking for her and when one finds her they all will.  Whatever you think of the right or wrong of her getting publicity in this case, she’s a part of the story.  That’s just the way the press works.  It’s not up to the gardai to spare her blushes surely.

Text Messages and Blood Spatters

Over the course of their ten week affair Eamonn Lillis and Jean Treacy sent each other over 300 messages.  The messages stopped abruptly when Mr Lillis’s wife, Celine Cawley was died violently at the couple’s home.

Today Mr Lillis’s trial heard details of the texts that passed between the lovers over a couple of days in the middle of December 2008, the days surrounding the death of Ms Cawley.

The court heard last week that Jean Treacy was a massage therapist at the Howth Haven Salon who was having a passionate affair with Mr Lillis.

Today the court heard that the first text found between the two was sent on November 2nd.  They continued, getting more frequent until December 16th when Ms Treacy texted Mr Lillis to suggest they stopped seeing each other for a while.

On Sunday December 14th, the day before Ms Cawley died, Eamonn Lillis texted Jean Treacy at 12.17 that afternoon.  “In car with [his daughter, who cannot be named for legal reasons] Will contact you in 30.x”  Sure enough half an hour later he texted again.  “Hi my love.  Thanks for the text on the way home from the stables.  C is getting car to see horse.  I really miss you my baby.  Call or text asap.  I love you.”

That night Ms Treacy texted him just before 11p.m. “Transporter 3 good.  Love Jason Statham.You staying at home tomorrow? K going into office for part of morning.  Could meet you somewhere.  Miss you so much. x”

The reply did not survive but a couple of minutes she texted again.  “No pressure though, OK Baby? x”

A couple of minutes later she sent a third text.  “Well as usual I’ll have to play it by ear.  Will contact you as soon as possible in morning.  Good night my angel. Love you infinitely. x”

The text morning she sent an empty text at 9.44.  Then at almost 10.30 she sent to two words “Everything OK?”  This would have been almost half an hour after Mr Lillis called the emergency services saying that he and his wife had been attacked and he couldn’t find a pulse on his wife.

At 11.14 she texted again.  “Getting a bit worried now Babe.”

The next day she texted him just before 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  She had obviously heard what had happened.  The message was simple.  “[His daughter] that’s what you really need to focus on.  I’m not abandoning you.  You just need to concentrate on you & [daughter] and what’s happening to you.  To do this I don’t think we should have any contact until things have calmed down (for both our sakes).  I know you will understand.  Everyone is looking for a story.   This is not an easy decision for me to make.  Will be thinking of you and be with you every step of the way. Bye. x”

That night she texted again.  At ten past 11 she sent;  “I wanted you to know I still feel the exact same about you OK.  I’ll keep the appointment times in case you need them.  See you at the funeral.  Best of luck with everything always. x”

We also heard that Celine Cawley’s blood was found spattered about five feet up the wall between the double doors into the utility room and the window into the living room near where Ms Cawley’s body was found at the back of the house of the Windgate Road in Howth.  The spatter was too far away from the main pool of blood where Ms Cawley was found to have been made by the same incident but would have happened at around the same time.

Forensic scientist Dr Stephen Doakes agreed with defence counsel Brendan Grehan that the spatter could have been caused by someone hitting their head on the sharp edge by the window.  There was no blood on the window so whatever happened would have happened over towards the double doors into the house.

There were also drops of blood on the steps that lead to these double doors.  Dr Doakes said the drops would have come from a narrow object that was heavily bloodstained and dripping blood.  Something like a finger or a brick but not a head wound.

The trial will continue tomorrow.

Literary Aspirations

Eamonn Lillis denied that a note found in his bedroom was written about his mistress Jean Treacy.  It was the basis of a short story he said, a doomed love affair.   He wrote, he explained, he used to be a copy writer.  The gardai may also have seen the chapter about a dog lying around.

He said the notes were not a resolution list written about the way he was feeling, they were fictional although based on experience.

The note read

She will get that wedding dress

She will marry Keith next June

She will send out the invites in January

You will never be with her properly.

The only way you can be with her is to live here.

Think of the positives in the relationship.

You will never take her to France.

She will never share your bed.

You are running out of time!!!

Eamonn Lillis denied that he was his wife’s lap dog, that he was a second class citizen or that she was a dominating character.  He said his solicitor had told him not to discuss this.

The trial continues on Monday.

Is the Grass Always Greener?

Eamonn Lillis was quite definite when he told gardai he had not had an affair.  After his arrest, six days after his wife’s death on December 15th 2008, he was woken in his brother-in-laws house and arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife, Celine Cawley.

In a series of interviews that Sunday he refused to comment when he was asked about his relationship with his wife.  He agreed they had slept in different bedrooms as a rule but this was down to her heavy snoring and thrashing about in the bed.

He was quite definite that he had not been having an affair in the ten weeks leading up to his wife’s death.  He had known Jean Treacy only as the woman who gave him his weekly massage, he told them.  Celine went to her as well.

The gardai told him they had been speaking to Jean and she told a different story.  A story in which an advance was made over a massage and a kiss was snatched in the salon where she worked.  They suggested regular weekly meetings on a Monday when she wasn’t working, three visits to his home.

At first Mr Lillis was determined in his denial but as the details stacked up he admitted the affair.  A mid life crisis, he called it.  He had been infatuated but wasn’t a jealous man.  He said he had known she was due to marry the following year and it didn’t bother him.

He told them he had worked out a “resolution list” with his mistress and then discussed the list with his wife over a bottle of wine.  The list covered things he was unhappy about in his life, the man he wanted to be, what he wanted to change.  The talk was very therapeutic, he said, it helped the marriage.

He denied that Celine had found out about his affair on the day that she died although he agreed he was due to meet Jean in their regular Monday meeting.  He couldn’t do that to his wife, he said.  He didn’t have it in him.

He refused to comment when gardai suggested that his wife’s death had been a terrible accident, that he had just snapped under intolerable strain.  He couldn’t do something like that to Celine he said.  He wanted to speak to his solicitor.

He also told gardai that he had changed his clothes after picking up an Irish Times in a local newsagents.  He had been going to take the dogs for a walk so had changed into combats and walking boots.  He had put the jeans he was wearing in the wash room and changed his dark top and black boots with white trim.

The jury was shown the contents of a black bin liner, found in a small suitcase under some cameras and lenses.  The suitcase had been submerged under boxes of children’s toys, dolls and children’s books.  In the bin liner were a pair of jeans and a black V neck sweater, a pair of white socks and a pair of boxers.  All the clothing was bloodstained.  As was a dish cloth, a pair of men’s outdoor gloves, a pair of rubber gloves and several wads of kitchen roll.  The bag also contained an empty sauce bottle and a yoghurt pot.

The jury were also shown a bloodstained grey polo shirt found in the upstairs bedroom used by Mr Lillis and a pair of black boots with white trim with blood stains on the soles.

We now have a very good idea of the layout of the house in Howth where this story played out.  This morning the prosecution played a video tour of the house filmed by gardai.  The camera swung slowly round the property showing a home in the run up to Christmas.  Gold tinsel was draped over every picture and the Christmas tree made another appearance.

Breakfast things were abandoned on the counter in the kitchen and beds were dishevelled.  The house had an empty, deserted look, made more acute by the inscrutable eye that looked on it in the aftermath of a forensic investigation.

The camera lingered over the soft toys in a bedroom, clutter on a bathroom shelf, an ornamental cow with daisy spots across it’s back in the garden.  All the trapping of lives lived before events that would change them forever.  A Marie Celeste moment before tragedy struck at the start of an ordinary week just before Christmas.

Concessions and Lies

Eamonn Lillis told gardai and the emergency services that both he and his wife, Celine Cawley, had been attacked by a masked attacker in their Howth home.  He said that this balaclava’d and gloved man had hit his wife over the head with a brick and then turned on him.

This morning, after prosecution counsel Mary Ellen Ring had finished her opening speech, Mr Lillis’s counsel, Brendan Grehan stood up to make a number of concessions.  It’s normal enough to hear that the defence aren’t going to argue over the conditions of their client’s arrest or the way the scene what preserved and the evidence gathered, the technicalities of the investigation of a serious crime.  In total Mr Grehan made eight concessions that there had been no hiccups in how the gardai did their job.  Then he came to the ninth admission.

Mr Lillis, he said, admitted lying to gardai and emergency services about the circumstances in which his wife had suffered the injuries that led to her death.  There had been no burglary, no intruder, no one apart from him in the house when she was injured.

According to the prosecution’s opening speech, the post mortem evidence will show that Celine Cawley died from a combination of factors, three blows to the head with a blunt object and more mundane complications after a fall when the now obese former model had been unable to breath after falling unconscious on her front.

We were also told, in the prosecution’s opening argument, that Mr Lillis had been having an affair in the months before his wife’s death.  Gardai had discovered a significant amount of phone traffic from phones belonging to Mr Lillis to phones belonging to a woman called Jean Treacy.

Ms Treacy is sure to be a major witness, as we have been told that she will also tell the court about the account Mr Lillis gave her about his wife’s death…a fight that turned physical, an icy deck and a fatal slip.  But so far all we’ve heard is the outline of the prosecution case, the evidence will come later.

The new courthouse, which will be officially opened by the President of Ireland at the weekend, is hosting it’s first murder trial.  As proceedings got underway today there were some noticeable teething troubles.  Soon after the jury had taken their seats there was a loud alarm and a disembodied voice began to announce an evacuation but was quickly cut of in mid sentence.  But despite the technical gripes there are certain new high tech whizz bangs that certainly add to the experience of the initial rather dry evidence.

The first couple of witnesses in a criminal trial are almost always maps and photographs.  Before the trial goes any further the jury are provided with maps of the area in question and photographs of places or objects that are going to be referred to by subsequent witnesses.  Normally if you’re sitting in the body of the court this evidence is rather dull.  They don’t hand out maps to the whole courtroom and it’s the same with the photos so unless you’ve got extremely good eyesight there’s a lot of talking about things you can’t see.

Now though, the maps and photographs appear on large screens behind the judge.  We can all see the high hedge that surrounds the house on Windgate Road in Howth.  The trappings of a privileged life of the occupants are visible to all; the large garden, stables, hot tub.  We can also all see the bright red stain that covers part of the decking outside the kitchen,

Crime scene photos are always uncomfortable windows on a tragedy, the flotsam and jetsam of normal lives mixed in with the detritus left by the emergency services.  On the kitchen table a portable oxygen mask sits beside a black woman’s handbag and the Irish Times.  The sad remnants of a Christmas cut short are visible in each picture, tinsel draped over pictures, a Christmas tree standing forlornly in the corner of the living room. 

In an upstairs bedroom the gloved hand of one of the garda forensics team holds a grey top.  A bedside table home to a scatter of change, a Lotto ticket and a watch that we are later shown has traces of blood and tissue on it.

In her opening speech, Mary Ellen Ring told us that Mr Lillis had called the emergency services shortly after 10 o’clock on the morning of December 15th 2008.  After lunch we heard a recording of that call.  Mr Lillis’s voice rang across the courtroom, sounding strangely high pitched and almost hysterical.  We listened as he was led through the CPR procedure by the emergency phone operator from Dublin Fire Brigade.  He could be heard breathing raggedly and deeply as he listened to the instructions, his voice rising even higher as his actions failed to get a response.

We also head from members of the fire brigade and gardai who responded to Mr Lillis’s frantic call.  Garda Colum Murray described arriving first on the scene and being greeted by a Mr Lillis who was “very unsteady on his feet” and “not making much sense”.  Mr Lillis also had visible injuries, scratches to his right cheek and two bruises on his left cheek and forehead that looked as if they had been made by a heavy object.

Barbara Cahill, from Kilbarrack Fire Station also arrived at the scene that morning.  She told the court how she had needed to salt the slippery decking after one of her colleagues slipped and fell on the icy surface.

The trial will continue tomorrow and the story will develop.

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