Clodagh Hawe’s sister: ‘We don’t know what the truth is’
Suicide note spoke of Alan Hawe’s shame and that ‘it was easier for them to die’
Alan Hawe (left) with Clodagh and their sons Liam, Niall, and Ryan. Alan killed his wife and three sons before taking his own life. Photgraph: Hawes/Coll families/PA Wire
The family of Clodagh Hawe, the 39-year-old teacher who, with her three sons was murdered by her husband in their Co Cavan home, have spoken publicly about their deaths because “we don’t know what the truth is” about why they were killed.
Alan Hawe (40) also a teacher, used an axe and knife to murder his wife, then stabbed their three sons, Liam (13) Niall (11) and Ryan (6) on August 29th, 2016 at their home in Ballyjamesduff.
He subsequently took his own life.
Ms Hawe’s sister Jacqueline Connolly and her mother Mary Coll refuse to accept evidence at the inquests into their deaths that Alan Hawe had a depression that escalated into psychosis resulting in Ms Hawe’s murder and the murder of her children.
Ms Connolly said the family believed he was “avoiding the consequences of something he was doing at work.
“He rang the INTO, we don’t know why, whether it was for a grievance or whether it was for representation. We know that he had conflict with a colleague.”
She added that Alan Hawe said “he was leading them to a life of ruin essentially and Clodagh would have to clean up his mess. We still don’t know what that mess is. He said the truth was going to come out sometime, we don’t know what that truth is.”
In a suicide note he spoke of his shame and that “it was easier for them to die than to have to live with the truth of what he was doing”.
Call for change
In an emotional and poignant interview on RTÉ Claire Byrne Live on Monday night the women talk about a daughter and sister, nephews and grandsons, plead for a new inquiry into their deaths and call for changes in the law to assist the families of victims of such family murders.
Rejecting claims that the deaths were because of mental illness, Ms Connolly said “nothing in this country is going to change if we just throw a blanket on the inquest, a blanket of depression, and Clodagh, Liam, Niall and Ryan, their file is in a filing cabinet now with reference numbers and we still don’t know why”.
They could not accept a psychiatrist’s diagnosis at the inquest of depression when he had been attending his GP for five years who never diagnosed him as depressed.
She added: “He never missed time from work, he was never sick. He had a position of responsibility. He showed no signs of depression, he was out, GAA, football, out and about.”
Ms Coll said her daughter confided in her and told her in February 2016, six months before they were killed, that her husband admitted he had been watching porn.
He started to go to counselling, Ms Coll said “and then an issue arose in the school so his counselling sessions went from dealing with his porn addiction to his issues at school”.
She added that “we do know now that we didn’t at the time that he was dressing in Clodagh’s underwear.
“I mean Clodagh would never ever in her wildest dreams have thought of that, none of us would. We only found that out after the inquest. He said as well when I go back to school it will all blow up. What we don’t know. Was he going to face a grievance? If he was masturbating in the school well at the very least he was guilty of professional misconduct. That was at the very least.”
They never found out what was going on in his work life.