Allison Morris: The premeditated nature of the Hawe killings is chilling

The hearse carrying the coffin of Clodagh Hawe arrives at Saint Mary's Church in Castlerahan, Co Cavan. She and her three sons were killed by her husband Alan who then died by suicide

GARDA Aisling Walsh broke down yesterday as she recalled the unimaginable scene at the Hawe family home on that terrible day in August last year, and few people will judge her for that.

No matter how professional or highly trained an officer is, to see a loving mother and her three sons murdered in such a heartless, vicious and callous way must be a life-changing event.

The evidence heard so far at Cavan courthouse about the deaths of Clodagh Hawe and her children Liam (13), Niall (11) and six-year-old Ryan at the hands of Alan Hawe - who then took his own life - is beyond harrowing.

Deputy state pathologist Michael Curtis told the court that by "dispatching" the loving mother and her eldest son, Alan Hawe reduced the risk of being challenged as he went about his gruesome mission.

The premeditated nature of the killings is chilling - the lengthy suicide notes, the moving of money into different bank accounts prior to the murders, the choice of weapons.

Knives and an axe, such violence, such barbarity from a man initially portrayed as a "pillar of the community" but who hacked his family to death in an act of selfish savagery.

Mrs Hawe's mother Mary Coll and sister Jacqueline Connolly were comforted by relatives as the injuries to each of their beloved relatives were read out.

Clodagh had a stab wound and two fractured bones on her right hand, signs that she tried to fight off her killer.

A tragic case of a violent and abusive man who lived a lie of a life, convincing all around him that he was a loving husband and father.

The case raises questions about domestic violence and how it is reported and viewed by a still patriarchal Irish society, but they are questions for another day.

Right now we should remember her name was Clodagh, she loved her children and she died trying to save them.

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