Letters found at scene of Cavan murder-suicide

The body of Clodagh Hawe was found along with her three children and her husband 
Brendan Hughes

LETTERS have been found at the Co Cavan home where a father killed his wife and three boys in a murder-suicide.

The bodies of teachers Alan and Clodagh Hawe and sons Liam (13), Niall (11) and six-year-old Ryan were found in their home near Ballyjamesduff on Monday morning.

A note was found on the back door telling people not to enter the house and to call gardaí.

A second note was later discovered during a forensic search of the house at Oakdene Downs in the townland of Barconey.

It is understood the second note gives some insight into Mr Hawe's mental state at the time of the killings.

Mr Hawe (40) was vice principal at Castlerahan National School where his two youngest sons were pupils. He was also treasurer at Castlerahan GAA club.

His wife of 15 years, Clodagh (39), was a teacher at Oristown National School near Kells, Co Meath.

It is thought Mr Hawe stabbed his wife and children then pinned a note to the back door before killing himself.

Two of the bodies were found in a downstairs room while three others, believed to be those of the children, were discovered in bedrooms upstairs.

Psychologists have been giving advice and support to teachers at both schools.

Catholic bishop of Kilmore Leo O'Reilly described the loss as "unbearable".

"The death of a child has to be the most difficult cross for any parent to bear, but three children and their parents. It is just unbearable," he told RTÉ.

The family had been seen at a GAA match on Sunday before the killings and gardaí said there was no indication that anything was wrong.

Castlerahan National School principal Anne Foley described the deaths as a "terrible tragedy".

"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," she said.

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

Ann O'Kelly-Lynch, the principal of Oristown, said Mrs Hawe was a "much loved and valued teacher" who would be "greatly missed".

The alarm was raised at about 10.45am on Monday after a relative called to the house.

Gardaí said they were not looking for anyone else in relation to the deaths.

Assistant commissioner John O'Driscoll said: "The most likely scenario is that one person in that house may have caused the deaths of the others."

He said they were working along "very definite lines of inquiry" and they believe "all the answers are in that house".

Fine Gael councillor Paddy Smith said the community was "shell-shocked at this terrible tragedy".

"This has come as complete and utter shock to everybody in the area and everybody who knew the family because they were a very steady, hard-working family," he said.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access