A family wiped out, a community laid waste by grief, a house within whose walls lies the answer to what motivated the killer in an horrific murder-suicide that claimed the lives of five.
Gardaí believe “all the answers are within that house” in the quiet Oakdene Estate, Barconey, Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, where teachers Alan and Clodagh Hawe were found dead yesterday, along with their three young sons, Liam, 13, Niall, 11, and Ryan, 6.
Two schools were reeling in the aftermath of the tragedy — Castlerahan National School, where Mr Hawe was deputy principal and a teacher of first class, and Oristown National School, in Kells, Co Meath, where Mrs Hawe had taught.
Gardaí suspect Mr Hawe stabbed his wife and his three boys with a knife, before hanging himself.
The boys were found dead upstairs: two in one bedroom and the eldest in a second bedroom.
The parents were discovered downstairs.
Gardaí said the autopsy might indicate if the boys were asleep at the time.
Detectives believe Mr Hawe, who had no history with the police, was solely involved in the killings.
“We believe all the answers are within that house, therefore the most likely scenario is that one person in that house may have caused the deaths of others,” Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll told a press briefing.
Asst Comm O’Driscoll said that while there was no evidence of a firearm being used, “a number of objects found in the house remain the subject of technical examination”.
Married for 15 years, Alan and Clodagh Hawe were well-known in the community.
In a statement yesterday, Anne Foley, principal of Castlerahan NS, described Mr Hawe as a “valued member of our school and community”.
“Niall and Ryan were pupils in our school and Liam was a past pupil. They were wonderful children who will be greatly missed by all who knew them,” Ms Foley said.
In a separate statement, Ann O’Kelly Lynch, principal of Oristown NS, said: “Clodagh was a much loved and valued teacher in our school and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.”
Meanwhile Bishop Leo O’Reilly, Bishop of Kilmore and patron of St Mary’s NS Castlerahan, said it was with “great sadness” that he had learned of the deaths of the Hawe family.
“Families are the cornerstone of our parish communities, and the sudden loss of one young family, in such a shocking way, is unbearable and near impossible to comprehend.
“Especially now — as the new school year begins — my thoughts and prayers are with the school friends and the teachers of the children who have died in this tragedy,” Bishop O’Reilly said.
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