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Ireland considers ‘spouse killer’ legislation

Monday, 8 October, 2018

The Irish government is considering a new law to stop people who kill their spouses from benefitting financially after their death, after Eamonn Lillis inherited his wife’s estate, despite being convicted of her manslaughter in 2008.

The existing 1965 Succession Act prevents someone involved in the killing of their husband or wife from inheriting any part of their estate: however, if they held a joint tenancy, they automatically become the surviving joint owner of the property.

Eamonn Lillis, jailed from 2010 – 2015 for his wife’s manslaughter, received approximately EUR1.3 million from her estate. The Irish High Court blocked him from receiving all the funds, ruling that his wife’s share of the property should be held in trust for their daughter, Georgia.

Both the Court and the Law Reform Commission have advocated a reform to the current law.

The bill, brought before the Dáil (Irish Parliament) last week, will move to ensure that anyone convicted of killing their spouse cannot benefit from the total proceeds of the sale of any property.

Some ministers have also advocated that the new legislation should go further: encompassing people who have found a third party to commit the offence.

The Republic of Ireland’s Justice Minister, Charlie Flanagan, is due to outline the more stringent rules in a cabinet meeting tomorrow.