Belfast Telegraph

Inquests into Co Cavan family deaths begin today

BY Conor Feehan

The inquests into the deaths of a Co Cavan wife and her children who were killed by her husband before he took his own life are due to be opened today.

On August 29 last year, school vice principal Alan Hawe (40) killed his wife Clodagh (39) and then their three children Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) in their family home in Castlerahan, Co Cavan.

He then pinned a note to the back door warning whoever called not to go in, but to call the gardai, and went back inside and killed himself.

The inquests are due to begin at 10am today.

After killing his wife and children, Hawe left letters and details of all their bank accounts and financial affairs out to be found by whoever would come into the house.

He also used a computer to transfer money from the couple's joint account to his own one, and went to the bedroom and laid all of Clodagh's jewellery out neatly on the bed.

The computer's history shows that prior to Alan's bank transfer Clodagh had been using Google to research a family holiday in the future.

The family of Clodagh Hawe, who was named Coll before she married, have previously said that Hawe was due to suffer what they called a "fall from grace" before he embarked on the killings, and that he had written about it in letters he left behind.

While they have not publicly disclosed what this fall from grace was to be, they have indicated that it would come out at this week's inquests.

"He was about to lose the air of respectability he felt he had in the community.

"He said in the letter that Clodagh didn't know anything about this, and they were happy together. He also wrote 'How could I pretend to be so normal for so long?'," Clodagh's mother Mary previously said.

Clodagh's family also said Alan had been going to counselling, and there was conflict in his workplace.

After the murders and suicide, the family were all buried together in the grounds of Castlerahan church, but within weeks the Colls decided they did not want Alan's body in the grave with Clodagh and the boys.

Their wish was finally granted when Alan's coffin was exhumed from the plot at dawn on a day last May.

It is understood the Hawe family had his remains cremated afterwards.

Clodagh first met Alan while she was in teacher training college. It was her first serious relationship, starting when she was just 18.

"It was in February 1996. Alan told Clodagh he would look after her, and I suppose she saw a chance for security, and being looked after instead of looking after everyone else - which is what she did at home," said Mary.

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