‘We Are Aware That Alan Hawe Was Concerned At His Imminent Fall’


Clodagh Hawe’s sister Jacqueline Connolly, mother Mary Coll and their solicitor Liam Keane outside the inquest into the deaths of Clodagh, her three sons, and Alan Hawe 

This afternoon.

Further to deputy school principal Alan Hawe, 40, killing his 39-year-old teacher wife Clodagh and their three children Liam, 14, 11-year-old Niall and Ryan, six, before he took his own life at their Co Cavan home in August 2016.

A jury at the inquests into their deaths this afternoon returned a verdict of unlawful killing in the case of Clodagh and her sons; and a verdict of suicide in the case of Alan Hawe.

Further to this…

Liam Keane, a solicitor speaking on behalf of Clodagh’s family, said the following:

“On 29th August, 2016, we lost our daughter and sister Clodagh and her lovely sons Liam, Niall and Ryan in the most horrific circumstances.

“They were savagely and brutally killed by Alan Hawe in a premeditated and a calculated manner.

“We are aware that the inquest has a limited role in law, in that its function is restricted to establishing how, where and when are loved ones died.

“However, it is clear from the evidence presented at the inquest that Clodagh and her boys were killed in a sequence that ensured that the eldest and most likely to provide effective resistance were killed first and that they were executed in a manner which rendered them unable to cry out for help.

The inquest does not address why Alan Hawe committed this savagery but his counsellor has said that he was concerned about his position as a pillar of the community and we are aware that he was concerned at his imminent fall from that position and the breakdown of his marriage.

Whilst the psychiatrist has attempted, as best he could, to create a retrospective diagnosis based on notes and records, his GP, who knew him for five years,  said that he never displayed any signs of depression.”

Video via Stephanie Grogan

Alan Hawe had depressive symptoms for almost a decade, inquest told (Conor Lally, The Irish Times)

Previously: “Her Name Was Clodagh. She Mattered.”

The War At Home

47 thoughts on “‘We Are Aware That Alan Hawe Was Concerned At His Imminent Fall’

  1. snowey

    I feel so sad and angry at this.

    Sad for their horrific murders and loss of their futures and so angry how somebody could let something as stupid as keeping up an appearance of being a pillar of the community (whatever the f that means) drive him to kill his own family with such savagery.

  2. Daisy Chainsaw

    I shudder to think what daily life was like for Clodagh and her sons in the lead up to this. Heartbroken for her family.

    1. newsjustin

      I don’t think one can assume that daily life was bad (and abusive?) based on this horrible outcome.

      But I’m only speculating on your speculation. The man murdered his family, it’s as bad as it can be.

      There was at the time some commentary, and it’s in the family’s response above, suggesting that he wasn’t mentally ill. Surely killing your family and then yourself provides proof that the man was mentally ill – to a catastrophic degree.

      1. Oh please

        He knew exactly what he was doing . He was not mentally ill. I bet life was hell for Clodagh behind closed doors. I have no sympathy for the man. He was a controlling abusive man who murdered his entire family. RIP Clodagh and her boys.

        1. Yeah, Ok

          Your post is pure speculation and should be deleted. For all the evidence we have here he could have been a model husband and father up until the point he did this. You projecting your opinions online for all to see is unhelpful and potentially upsetting for those connected to him.

          1. oh please

            He murdered his wife and three children. He planned it . He was not mentally ill. I am being kind when I say he was merely abusive.

          2. newsjustin

            As you seem so certain of it, why are you sure that he wasn’t mentally ill? What evidence do you have that wasn’t presented at the inquest?

          3. Topsy

            There was no definitive evidence stating that he was mentally ill. Could it be that he was a bad egg who murdered his family. Yes the word is MURDER not killed. ” Mentally ill ” the new cop out of taking responsibility for one’s one actions.

          4. LW

            I think that killing your wife and kids both qualifies as indicative of mental illness, and disqualifies you from any consideration as a model father

          5. oh please

            @ yeahok So it is upsetting for those connected to him. Funny , how you never mention Clodagh or her family or the upset that he caused them.

        2. newsjustin

          Ok. But that’s not the view of the mental health professional giving expert testimony at the inquest (that he wasn’t mentally ill).

          1. oh please

            Was he aware of the nature and quality of his act? Did he know what he was doing was wrong? Was he unable to refrain from committing the act?
            In light of the evidence presented , I would deduce that he was not mentally insane. His doctor also said that there was no history of depression.

          2. oh please

            I am inclined to trust the GP who knew him for five years rather than some opinion drawn retrospectively.

          3. Clampers Outside!

            A GP is not a mental health expert.

            Most GPs know sweet f’all about mental health.
            I myself have had opportunity to ask a few counsellors and GP doctors on such, all agreed.

            Why place such determination of the man’s health in the hands of a GP when they are not an expert in that area.

          4. Owen C

            From the Irish Times

            “For almost a decade Alan Hawe suffered from depressive and anxiety-based symptoms, which progressed to “psychotic” symptoms by the time he murdered his wife Clodagh and their three sons, one of the Republic’s leading psychiatric experts has told an inquest hearing….

            …The jury returned verdicts in accordance with the coroner’s recommendation. They also recommended that steps be taken to “raise awareness of mental health issues at work…

            Prof Harry Kennedy, a consultant forensic psychiatrist and director of the Central Mental Hospital, told the Cavan Coroners Court on Tuesday that Alan Hawe’s mental issues manifested first in concerns about his physical health but developed.

            “He progressed from a long-standing depressive illness with anxiety and somatic concerns to a severe depressive episode with psychotic symptoms,” he said.
            Prof Kennedy explained that a somatic concern is one involving physical ailments, including the foot fungal issue he had presented to his Co Meath GP with two months before he murdered his family.

            He added sufferers of the condition, he believed, like Alan Hawe often had “delusional beliefs”.

            “A belief that some catastrophe, some terrible event, is pending that there is no recovery from,” he said.”


          5. Owen C

            @ oh please

            that would be the opinion of one of the leading psychiatric experts in the country, and the opinions of the jury. His counsellor, who he had seen 10 times, also said that Mr Hawe had suffered from depression in his 20s. But yeah, the GP is probably the guy with the correct opinion.

          6. newsjustin

            I’m not sure what magic powers of diagnosis you think a GP has. The GP believed him to be mentally well up to the point where he killed his family and himself. The therapist believed he was no danger to himself or others up to the point where he killed his family and himself.

            (Edit – I’m not knocking the GP or therapist by the way. But they can only go on what is reported to them by the patient…largely)

            Sadly, the defining thing in this man’s life is that he killed his family and himself. The expert forensic psychiatrist, taking all the evidence into account – not just what Hawe told his GP and therapist, explained to the inquest how Alan Hawe was mentally ill.

          7. oh please

            I will qualify my answer. In the eyes of the law was he mentally insane? If he had lived, I bet no jury would have found him not guilty by insanity.
            He knew what he was doing. The murder was planned in detail.He killed those he believed would put up a fight first. He wrote a letter. His depression did not manifest ina brief psychotic incident. It manifested in murder. Mens reus & actus reus .All the elements for murder were met. The defence of insanity was not met. Expert opinion was based on limited evidence. This was also acknowledged during the inquest.

          8. Owen C

            @ oh please

            you’re debating a “not guilty by reason of insanity” (or similar) legal defence vs a fairly simple “was he mentally ill to an extent that it impacted on what happened” discussion the rest of us are having.

            So when you say “He was not mentally ill. I bet life was hell for Clodagh behind closed doors”, and then decide to change tack into some legalistic burden of proof debate, you’ll forgive the rest of us from wondering why you made the initial claims about his mental stability and life for his wife leading up the terrible events.

          9. oh please

            How many people struggle with mental illness? How many end up killing their patrtner and children? How many of those that do so are men? I think we are doing a disservice to Clodagh and her family by allowing the narrative of mental illness to dominate what was a brutal murder of a young woman and her three children. Yes. Let us support those who suffer from mental illness. Let us also support those who suffer at the hands of their partner. Let us support those who are controlled & abused by their partners.

          10. Owen C

            There was a previous discussion on here about the murder of Clodagh and the boys, and when it was suggested he was likely suffering from some sort of psychological issues (not “not guilty by reason of insanity”, just “the decision to murder your family and then end your own life probably indicates mental health issues”) we were described as “disgusting apologists” and “engaging in baseless speculation to downplay the crime”.

            Of course, the “he was likely terrible abusive” and “the controlling nature and decision to kill them indicates he had a control over and hatred for his family” opinions and speculation was considered ok to go with.


    1. snowey

      I see your point , but in saying his depression caused him to kill it doesn’t mean everybody with depression will kill..

      only a fool would think that

  3. Bertie Blenkinsop

    My heart goes out to everyone involved in this, the beautiful kids, Clodagh and Alan himself.
    Maybe I’m naive but I just can’t believe that somebody could murder their children if they WEREN’T mentally ill.
    Such a horrible tragic event.

  4. Robert

    The only good that we can hope to take from this whole dreadfully sad event is to try to understand it in the hope that any future such events could be prevented. I see a lot of argumentation on here about whether he was or was not insane and this is healthy because both possibilities need to be understood.

    If he’s not insane then were there any earlier signs of his possible murderousness. Nothing overt but there are a lot of whispering that Clodagh was a long-term sufferer of domestic abuse but to explore this, these whispers need to become a little louder and these details filled in.

    If he was insane then what were the signs of his insanity. I’d want to understand were there any interactions with his medication? He had been prescribed some sleeping medication shortly before the murders.

    The truth, as always may lie somewhere in the middle. The families seemed to have some stuff to say on the matter, and their accounts were not integrated into the inquest, but hopefully when their stories surface then that will help shed some light.

  5. Tina Dee

    My heart goes out to Clodagh’s mam. What a terrible life sentence she has to live. The loss of her beautiful daughter and those lovely boys. I’m so sorry for you.


    His wife was going to divorce him and he couldn’t face the thought of it. In many cases, the man is found dead and in other cases, he kills the woman. Don’t mess with a man’s emotions. Women are meant to be a suitable help to their husband and not drive him to this sort of extreme.

  7. Paddy at the Howth Summit

    The fact that commentators are throwing around the phrase “mentally ill” says it all about their ability to read or comprehend.

    Regardless, what he did was an appalling act of savage killing, killing people at some point he must have loved.

    Who knows other than this was sickening, inhumane, and clearly beyond comprehension by the vast majority of people who suffer mental health issues…

    Our thoughts and energy and memories should be with Clodagh (yes, that was her name) and the children. God, it’s so hard reading the reports. Can you ever imagine what it must have been like in those final moments or indeed coming across the scene?

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