Body of man who killed wife and children exhumed in Cavan

There had been controversy over Alan Hawe’s burial in the same grave as his wife, Clodagh

Alan Hawe (40) was buried in the same grave as Clodagh Hawe (nee Coll) and their three boys, Liam (14), Niall (11) and Ryan (6). Photograph: Hawe and Coll families/PA Wire

The body of Alan Hawe, who murdered his wife and children before killing himself last year, was exhumed in Co Cavan on Wednesday morning.

The family of Hawe’s wife, Clodagh, stood nearby as the body was removed from the grave he shared with her and their three sons beside St Mary’s Church in the family’s hometown of Castlerahan.

There was significant public controversy last year after Hawe (40) was buried in the same grave as Clodagh (nee Coll) and Liam (14), Niall (11) and Ryan (6).

Hawe, the vice-principal at the local school, killed his wife and sons on August 29th, 2016, in a protracted attack using knives and a hatchet at the family home near Ballyjamesduff.


Hawe, a Kilkenny native, worked as the vice-principal of the local Castlerahan National School in Ballyjamesduff while Clodagh Hawe taught at Oristown national school in Kells, Co Meath.

An inquest into the deaths is to take place later this year.

It is understood the exhumation took place on the wishes of the family. Before taking his own life, Hawe left a note saying he wanted his remains cremated and his ashes scattered in the ocean.

The exhumation took two hours and concluded just before 6am. Staff from the coroner’s office, environmental health officers and undertakers were present.

Screens erected

Screens were erected around the family plot as the work took place while gardaí patrolled the perimeter of the grave site.

The Kilkenny native’s remains were then removed from the site in a silver van.

It is understood a licence for the exhumation was granted by Cavan County Council in recent months but officials were concerned for the condition of the ground and were awaiting a period of sustained good weather before the work could begin.

Mr Hawe’s body was taken to Glasnevin Cemetery for cremation, after which his ashes were to be given to his family.

The marker that indicated where Hawe’s remains rested in Castlerahan, which had been vandalised with the word “evil” scraped into it, has now been removed.

Following the murders, psychologists from the National Educational Psychological Service were assigned to the primary schools with whom the family was linked to support and advise teachers in assisting students and staff.

Since the deaths, Clodagh Hawe’s family have raised thousands of euro for national domestic violence support charity Women’s Aid. The have also been campaigning for the provision of refuge services in the Cavan-Monaghan region.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times