'Our golden girl' - Clodagh Hawe sister's relief as killer Alan exhumed from grave
The sister of Clodagh Hawe, who was murdered by her husband Alan along with their three sons in a murder suicide, has said she cried with relief when his body was exhumed from the family's grave.
Alan Hawe (40) killed his wife Clodagh (39) and children Liam (14), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) in a murder-suicide at their home in the townland of Castlerahan, near Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan in August last year.
On Wednesday morning at dawn, Alan Hawe's body was exhumed and removed from the cemetery in the early hours of the morning. His remains were later cremated.
Jacqueline Connolly, sister of Clodagh said she was there when the body was exhumed, "and we were relieved when it was done".
The family told how they had received anonymous threats since the tragedy. After killing his family, Alan Hawe then left a note on the back door of their home telling whoever called to ring the Garda, and killed himself inside the house.
The family were buried together side by side in the same plot in the small graveyard in the local St Mary's Church after the tragedy.
Clodagh's sister Jacqueline Connolly and mother Mary Coll requested that Hawe's remains 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.
Speaking to the BBC Jacqueline about the exhumation, Jacqueline said: "As he left the cemetery, the sun broke through the clouds and I cried with relief that he was gone.
"At least Clodagh and the boys can rest in peace now that he has gone, thank God."
Jacqueline described Clodagh as a "wonderful sister and mother" and her sons "so respectful and all talented in different ways".
"I used to call her the golden girl. In my eyes, she never put a foot wrong. She was just lovely. She was always very level headed, more so than me," she told the BBC.
"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.
Meanwhile, the family also revealed they have been the subject of anonymous threats since the tragedy.
They insisted that they played no part in the decision about where he was to be buried after their deaths, and claim they exhumed his body when requested to do so.
A statement, issued by solicitor Michael Lannigan on behalf of the Hawe family, said: "The Hawe family had been requested by the Coll family to make that application. The Hawes agreed to same.
"The Hawe family had not previously been involved in the decision as to where Alan was buried.
"Over the last number of months the parents of Alan Hawe have received threats from persons unknown which have added to the devastating losses that they have suffered of their son, grandchildren and daughter-in-law. They would hope that they, and the Coll family, would now be left in peace."
In their statement, the Hawe family said the timing of the exhumation was decided by professionals, and the family had no involvement in the delay. It went on to say that the Hawe family now wished to be "left in peace".