Belfast Telegraph

Ireland in shock after Cavan dad Alan Hawe kills wife Clodagh and boys Liam, Niall and Ryan before taking his own life

Vice-principal who killed family in murder-suicide in Co Cavan had posted note on back door telling visitors not to enter, but contact Garda

By Paul Williams, Robin Schiller and Martin Grant

The father who tragically killed his wife and three sons before taking his own life pinned a note to the back door of his family home warning the next visitor to call police.

Alan Hawe, his wife Clodagh and their three children Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) were found dead in their house in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, yesterday morning.

A male relative who had called to their home found a note pinned to the door asking any visitor to call Garda before going inside. It's understood a female officer was one of those who made the horrific discovery of the three brothers in two bedrooms upstairs. Their parents were discovered in separate rooms downstairs.

Mr Hawe, who was in his 40s, was a vice-principal at Castlerahan National School.

His wife was also a teacher, at Oristown National School near Kells, Co Meath.

The Hawes were described as a "salt of the earth family" by neighbours. They were actively involved in Castlerahan GAA Club and had just attended a club football match on Sunday. The family were spotted at the game, which the club won, in high spirits. Mr Hawe had also just begun his first year as treasurer of the Ballyjamesduff-based club.

Last night forensic officers were continuing their examination of the bungalow while the five bodies were removed in preparation for post mortem examinations by Deputy State pathologist Dr Michael Curtis.

It is understood that a knife was used in at least some of the killings.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Jack O'Driscoll last night said that two gardai made the "grim discovery" after Monaghan Garda station received a call earlier yesterday morning about a "suspicious person".

Commissioner O'Driscoll confirmed that gardai are not looking for any other suspects.

"The most likely scenario is that one person in that house may have caused the death of others," he said at a Press conference last night.

"All the circumstances will be explored. We are not looking for anybody else. We believe all the answers are within that house."

The Garda chief confirmed there is no evidence that a firearm was used. However, he added that a "number of objects" were found in the house and will be technically examined.

Investigators said they had not yet established the circumstances that led to the tragedy.

One senior officer said there had been no outward signs of any problems in the family.

He said the family had been away for the day and the children had been playing outside the house on Sunday night. It's understood that Mr Hawe had a history of mental health difficulties, but the Irish health service last night would not comment on this.

He was described as "an excellent teacher".

"This is a terrible tragedy for the family, our school and our community," said Anne Foley principal of Castlerahan National School in a statement last night.

"Alan was a valued member of our school staff and community. Niall and Ryan were pupils in our school and Liam was a past pupil.

"They were wonderful children who will be greatly missed by all who knew them."

Ann O'Kelly Lynch, principal at Oristown National School said that Mrs Hawe - who taught at the school for the past nine years - was a "much loved and valued teacher" and will be "greatly missed by all who knew her".

Psychologists from the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) have been providing support and advice to both schools. A spokesperson for Castlerahan GAA club said that the family were "well-known and widely-respected".

"The entire GAA family in Castlerahan are shocked and grief-stricken at this terrible event," the statement added.

The three boys were also involved in the East Cavan Eagles Basketball Club, where they were photographed at an event earlier this year.

A close friend of the family said that the Hawes have lived in the area for more than 10 years.

"They were well respected around here," said one neighbour.

"We just cannot believe something like this has happened in our little village."

Yesterday evening, five hearses arrived at the house to remove the bodies for post-mortem.


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