Clodagh Hawe's sister speaks of relief as killer exhumed from grave

Alan Hawe with his wife Clodagh and their children Liam, 13, Niall, 11 and Ryan, six, who died in a murder-suicide at their countryside house in Co Cavan last year. Picture from Hawes/Coll families/PA Wire

THE sister of Clodagh Hawe, killed alongside her three sons by her husband in a murder-suicide, has described her relief that his body has been exhumed from the family's grave.

Jacqueline Connolly said "Clodagh and the boys can rest in peace now" after Alan Hawe's body was removed from the Co Cavan plot on Wednesday.

Mr Hawe (40) killed his wife Clodagh (39) and children Liam (14), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) at their home in the townland of Castlerahan, near Ballyjamesduff in August last year before taking his own life.

All five were buried together in St Mary's churchyard in Castlerahan.

Ms Connolly and her mother Mary Coll requested that the remains of Mr Hawe, the vice-principal at the local school, be removed a short time after the funeral last September. A licence was granted in March to do so.

They had requested that the body be removed ahead of Clodagh's 40th birthday on Easter Sunday, but this did not happen.

But on Wednesday morning at dawn, Mr Hawe's body was exhumed and removed from the cemetery.

Clodagh, right, with her mother Mary Coll, left, on her sister Jacqueline's wedding day. Picture by BBC

"I was there when it happened. And as he left the cemetery, the sun broke through the clouds and I cried with relief that he was gone," Ms Connolly told the BBC.

"At least Clodagh and the boys can rest in peace now that he has gone, thank God.

"We have waited for seven and a half months for this to be done.

"We requested that he would be exhumed."

It is not the first time Ms Connolly and her family have been touched by tragedy. In September 2010, her brother Tadhg died by suicide and three years later her husband, Richie, also died by suicide.

Ms Connolly paid tribute to her older sister, describing her as a "wonderful sister and mother" and her sons "so respectful and all talented in different ways".

Clodagh Hawe 

"I used to call her the golden girl. In my eyes, she never put a foot wrong," she said.

"She was just lovely. She was always very level headed, more so than me.

"The kids, growing up, were so respectful and all talented in different ways. Liam was athletic, Niall was into building Lego and baking.

"When Ryan was telling you a story his eyes would be dancing in his head - he was so full of life.

"I always think about the day I got married, I talked about Clodagh and what a wonderful sister and mother she was.

"Clodagh was very honest. She always made sure the kids were protected, kept safe and told the truth about everything."

His body was taken to Glasnevin Cemetery for cremation, after which his ashes were to be given to his family.

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