Tuesday 17 September 2019

Clodagh's family sues killer Hawe's estate over trauma

A FAMILY’S ORDEAL: Clodagh’s sister Jacqueline Connolly and mother Mary Coll — Photo: Steve Humphreys
A FAMILY’S ORDEAL: Clodagh’s sister Jacqueline Connolly and mother Mary Coll — Photo: Steve Humphreys
Clodagh Hawe's sister Jacqueline Connolly and their mother Mary Coll Picture: David Conachy
Fighting for the truth: Clodagh Hawe (left) with her sister Jacqueline Connolly and mother Mary Coll (right), whose campaign has led to a review of the case
Clodagh Hawe
LOVING MOTHER: Clodagh with her sons Niall, Ryan and Liam on a family holiday
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The lawsuits initiated by the mother and sister of Clodagh Hawe against the estate of her killer are the latest in a series of dramatic recent developments related to the tragedy.

Clodagh and her three sons were brutally murdered by husband and father Alan Hawe, who then took his own life. The trauma experienced by relatives has not faded since that fateful day in 2016.

Intended legal actions by Clodagh's mother Mary Coll and sister Jacqueline Connolly were signalled a few weeks ago, around the time of their harrowing interview with RTÉ's Claire Byrne.

Letters of administration were granted by a court to Hawe's father Stephen on February 27. This made Stephen Hawe the administrator of his son's estate for the limited purpose of defending legal proceedings against the estate.

The following day, Hawe's mother Olive initiated proceedings against the estate.

Then on Wednesday of this week, Clodagh's mother and sister also issued proceedings.

While no statements of claim, which would outline the full reasons for the lawsuits, have been filed to date, the cases are described as "personal injury" actions within the High Court system.

It has been an eventful few weeks for all caught up in this appalling tragedy. First came the television interview in which Ms Coll and Ms Connolly laid out in stark terms the many unanswered questions they had surrounding the murders.

They went public with their concerns after being refused a copy of the Garda investigation file. They said that while an inquest had dealt with the who, the when and the how of the murders, in their view it didn't explain why schoolteacher Hawe killed his family.

They revealed how Hawe had been getting counselling for an addiction to pornography.

LOVING MOTHER: Clodagh with her sons Niall, Ryan and Liam on a family holiday
LOVING MOTHER: Clodagh with her sons Niall, Ryan and Liam on a family holiday

He had made a reference to being caught "red-handed", but it wasn't clear exactly what this meant. Hawe had also been in contact with his union, the INTO, but it wasn't clear if this was due to a grievance.

In the interview and a subsequent article in the 'Sunday Independent', they outlined their belief gardaí, Hawe's union and the school where he worked could all help in their search for answers.

In the newspaper article, Ms Connolly wrote about how the family "got the sense from the investigation team that their thinking seemed to be, Alan Hawe is dead, as are the people he murdered, so what is the point in uncovering possible information that may impact on others and possibly ruin their lives".

It was also revealed Hawe transferred funds from a joint account into his own account after carrying out the murders.

Their intervention prompted a renewed focus on Celine's Law, a bill to close off an apparent loophole in inheritance laws which allows a spouse, or their successors, to benefit financially from domestic homicide.

The pressure also led to a serious case review being launched by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris into the force's initial response to the tragedy and the subsequent investigation.

A FAMILY’S ORDEAL: Clodagh’s sister Jacqueline Connolly and mother Mary Coll — Photo: Steve Humphreys
A FAMILY’S ORDEAL: Clodagh’s sister Jacqueline Connolly and mother Mary Coll — Photo: Steve Humphreys

Then came a statement from Castlerahan National School, where Hawe was deputy principal. This dealt with some of the matters Clodagh's family had raised.

It said that while the school was made aware after the killings of Hawe's "online activity", gardaí had confirmed he did not access pornographic websites during the school day and no evidence had emerged of any inappropriate activity during school time.

The statement also said that while there had been a reference to Hawe being caught "red-handed", this had nothing to do with the school and did not happen on the school premises.

Irish Independent

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