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Fury as wife killer is allowed to walk around home town

An Irish victims support group has said it was “revolting” to have a convicted killer freed on bail while he awaits sentence.

The group's comments came as Eamonn Lillis (52) was photographed with his head held high in Howth, Co Dublin, yesterday.

He showed little sign of emotion as he arrived to report at his local Garda station.

Lillis is due to be sentenced today for the killing of his wife Celine Cawley, who died in her home after being hit three times with a brick on December 15, 2008.

Advocates for Victims of Homicide in the Republic (Advic) have called on the Irish government to introduce legislation which would prevent convicted criminals having the “luxury of freedom” before receiving sentence.

“Mr Lillis has had over a year to ‘tidy up his affairs' and so it is a travesty to state that he would need an hour, let alone a week, to organise his financial matters,” said joint secretary of Advic, Annie Mulvaney.

“The message sent out to the general public is that there is one law for the offender, another for the victim.”

Wearing the same black jacket he has worn through the three weeks of his trial and a casual pair of denim jeans, the convict did not look like a man enjoying what is likely to be his final day of freedom.

Today, Mr Justice Barry White is to decide how many years Lillis will serve for the manslaughter of the mother of his child.

The Central Criminal Justice Court is expected to hear about the impact of the crime on the Cawley family, including Celine's elderly father, sister and brother.

It may also hear from Lillis's counsel Brendan Grehan about his client's reaction following his conviction.

Eamonn Lillis cannot inherit his wife’s estate, estimated at €4m, but he can keep a half-share of everything they owned together.

Last Saturday, a jury of six women and six men found the 52-year-old Irish advertising director not guilty of his wife’s murder, but guilty of her manslaughter, saying the State had failed to prove intent.

It took the jury nine hours and 28 minutes over two-and-a-half days to return their verdict by a 10-2 majority following a 14-day trial at Dublin’s Central Criminal Court.

During the trial the Deputy State Pathologist said that moderate force would have caused the three wounds to Ms Cawley’s head that resulted in blood loss and asphyxia.

He said she might not have died if medical help had been summoned more quickly.

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