| 7.8°C Dublin

Face of the mistress as Lillis starts 10th day of murder trial

THIS is Jean Treacy, the woman who was having an affair with Eamonn Lillis, the man on trial for the murder of his wife Celine Cawley.

The young beauty therapist, originally from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, is said to be living with a relative to escape the glare of publicity sparked by her testimony at the murder trial on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old entered and left the Criminal Courts of Justice complex at Parkgate Street last week without being seen by press photographers and TV camera crews.

Gardai took the unpredecented step of shielding her from public scrutiny by escorting her into the building through an underground car park.

However, her photograph was on the front pages of several Sunday newspapers yesterday.

In her evidence, Ms Treacy told the Central Criminal Court that she had initially believed she was in love with married father-of-one Lillis, but now realised it was infatuation.

She had been Lillis's masseuse for two years before a relationship developed.

The pair were first introduced by Ms Cawley, who was also a client of Ms Treacy.

She ended the affair on the day after Ms Cawley died outside her Howth home on December 15, 2008.

Lillis has denied murdering his wife.

He was due to return to the witness box today for cross examination by the prosecution.

In her evidence last week, Ms Treacy said she agreed to meet Lillis for "closure" and they met three times in all after Ms Cawley's death.

On one occasion, St Patrick's Day last year, he described the fight he and his wife had on the day of her death.

Last May, she severed all contact with her former lover after he sent her a three-page letter and a Tiffany diamond pendant necklace.

The package was wrapped in paper with the words of pop star Beyonce's song Halo on it. She said she took the package straight to gardai.



courses

Ms Treacy attended secondary school at St Mary's Convent in Nenagh before spending two years doing her Leaving Cert at St Joseph's College, a co-ed school in nearby Borrisoleigh, finishing in 1996.

After leaving school, she worked as a lifeguard at Nenagh leisure centre, and then in the marketing industry, possibly spending some time in Britain.

She then took night courses in beauty therapy at the Galligan School of Beauty before starting at Howth Haven Beauty Salon in August, 2006.

It was there she would meet her future lover.

Her parents are Bernadette and Brendan, a highly respected author, historian and musician, and she has a sister and brother. Locals described the Treacys as a very decent, well-respected family.

Her father worked as a revenue collector in North Tipperary Co Council for 42 years before retiring in 2004 and also has 45 years service with the Civil Defence.

Meanwhile, Lillis (52) was back in the witness box today for cross examination by the prosecution.

Today is the 10th day of his trial for the alleged murder of Celine Cawley at their home at Rowan Hill, Windgate Road, Howth, while their daughter was at school.

The 46-year-old died of blunt force trauma after receiving three blows.

mlavery@herald.ie