Garda tells Hawe family inquest hears of scene of horror
Garda Alan Ratcliffe was the first person to turn the key in the back door of the Hawes' four-bed dormer bungalow - and within minutes he uncovered the scale of the atrocity.
Entering the house at the back of the Oakdene estate in Co Cavan, he called out and identified himself, but heard no reply.
Minutes earlier he had arrived at the house with his colleague Aisling Walsh after Mary Coll, Clodagh's mother, found a note on the back door in Alan Hawe's handwriting telling whoever read it to contact gardai.
Giving evidence at the inquests, Mr Ratcliffe said he entered the kitchen first, and then the sitting room. He said he saw the body of a woman, who he since learned was Clodagh, lying on her stomach on a settee, with a pool of blood beneath her. There was no sign of life.
"There was a knife and a small axe on the floor," he said.
Entering the hall he saw Alan Hawe, and again there was no sign of life.
Mr Ratcliffe said that he then went upstairs in the dormer bungalow, and entered a rear right bedroom where he saw two single beds against one wall, and the bodies of two young males, who he later learned were Niall and Liam Hawe.
"I then entered a second rear room and saw a single bed with the body of a male child," he said, adding that he later learned the child was Ryan Hawe.
On entering the master bedroom, Mr Ratcliffe said he saw jewellery and jewellery boxes laid out on the bed.
He alerted his colleague Garda Walsh and then broke the news to Mary Coll that there was no one alive in the house.
Garda Walsh (left), who became upset as she spoke at the inquest, said that the three boys had their duvets over them.
Detective Sergeant John Grant from the Garda technical bureau said he saw documents, a letter, and a sealed letter on the kitchen table, some of which were bloodstained.
Detective Garda Colm Nolan from the fingerprinting section of the Garda technical bureau gave evidence that a palm print which was discovered on the bloodstains on the handle of a hatchet matched that of Alan Hawe.