HE served five years for the manslaughter of his wife – and as soon as he was released, the first thing he did was fly to Southampton to get away from the eyes of a nation.

Eamonn Lillis was convicted of killing his wife and former James Bond girl Celine Cawley in Ireland and his release from prison on Saturday has generated huge interest across the Irish Sea.

For that reason he immediately travelled to Southampton to escape the public glare.

Ms Cawley was a successful businesswoman and ran a TV production company with Lillis.

He was found by gardaí – Irish police – standing over her body in the garden of their home in the plush Howth area of Dublin in late 2008.

Initially, he tried to claim that he had come home to find an intruder attacking Ms Cawley, who had a role in the 1985 film A View To A Kill, starring Roger Moore.

Daily Echo: Celine Cawley, centre, in A View to A Kill in 1985

When officers found some of his clothing stuffed in a suitcase in the loft with tissues – all stained with his wife’s blood – he changed the story.

When the trial began he admitted there was no intruder. Instead, he said he and his wife had an argument about feeding birds in the garden – denying that an affair he was having with a masseuse had anything to do with the row.

That was despite a note being found in his bedroom which related to the relationship.

During the row, he claimed the pair fought and bit each other before both agreeing to make up a story about an intruder to protect their daughter from knowing about the fight.

Soon, he said he rang 999 after realising Ms Cawley was bleeding and unconscious.

By the time gardaí and paramedics got to the property Celine Cawley was dead from severe head injuries and according to a paramedic, “was cold to the touch”.

According a report by a pathologist, she died after suffering three blows to the head – two of which were dealt as she lay unconscious and face down on the ground.

Lillis admitted killing Celine Cawley, but denied murder. A jury agreed with him and he was sentenced to six years and 11 months for manslaughter.

Due to good behaviour he qualified for early release on Friday – but opted to stay in prison an extra night to avoid the media scrum outside the jail near Dublin.

He took a taxi to the airport, criss-crossing the city in an attempt to lose anyone following him, only to be met by even more photographers as he checked in to his flight to Southampton.

Reporters even boarded the plane with him and documented everything he did, from magazines he read, to how many times he looked out of the window.

Once the plane landed in Southampton he marched out of the terminal, flanked by journalists from Ireland – but did not say a word.

Daily Echo:

He then left and headed to his sister’s home in Fareham, where he is staying – although such is the interest reporters from Irish newspapers were yesterday outside the house hoping for an unlikely interview.

Lillis declined to speak to anyone from the media.

Following his release Lillis now has a fortune of over €1.3m (£940k), thanks to his 50 per cent share of the assets he owned with his wife, including their business and home.

Her family and his daughter launched a legal fight to stop him from getting this money, which has all been paid to him during his time in prison, saying it is wrong for the man who killed Ms Cawley to profit from her death.