Killed in their pyjamas by father in frenzied attack - before mother-in-law found note
Hatchet and knife used in attack on 'normal, outwardly happy family'
The three sons of school vice principal Alan Hawe were all in their pyjamas when they were murdered by their father in a frenzied attack at their home.
The boys and their mother were killed by their father using a hatchet and knife, it emerged last night.
Gardaí investigating the deaths of Alan Hawe (41), his wife Clodagh (39) and their sons Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6), have been left completely mystified as to the motive behind the horror deaths at the family home in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan.
Investigating gardaí are satisfied Mr Hawe did not suffer any mental health issues, had no contact with the Health Service Executive (HSE) and had no major financial problems.
Sources said that officers would search the family home where the tragedy took place for any evidence that might shed light on Mr Hawe's state of mind when he carried out the murder-suicide.
"They were a very normal, outwardly happy family and there is nothing to suggest any kind of financial problems or other issues that might have caused him distress.
"Mr Hawe was never the subject of any kind of complaint and there were no events which might suggest that he was in distress, his family wanted for nothing," a source said.
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The three boys were found in upstairs bedrooms and were wearing their nightclothes at the time they were killed.
"The boys and wife suffered horrific injuries," the source added.
The knife and hatchet were among a number of items taken away for detailed forensic tests by the gardaí.
Deputy State pathologist Dr Michael Curtis carried out post-mortem examinations on the bodies of three of the victims yesterday.
It is expected that the other two will be completed this morning and relatives of the family will then be briefed on the tragedy by senior officers.
The Irish Independent has also learned that the person who discovered the note at the back door of the home was Clodagh's mother.
It is understood that she had arranged to go to their home on Monday morning to mind her three grandchildren.
Their parents were set to be busy preparing for the start of the new term at the local Castlerahan Central National School, where Alan was vice principal, and Oristown National School, outside Kells, where Clodagh was a teacher.
However, after phoning the house several times and failing to get an answer, Mrs Hawe's mother drove to the family home.
When she arrived at the house, the grandmother saw a note with the words "Don't come in, call the Guards" placed inside the glass frame of the door.
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Gardaí arrived at the scene at 10.45 am and made the gruesome discovery of the brothers' bodies in two bedrooms upstairs while the parents were found downstairs.
"He still had the composure and presence of mind to write this in order to prevent his mother-in-law witnessing what he had done in the home," a source said.
A forensic examination was being carried out by garda experts last night on a second note left in a sealed envelope by Mr Hawe before he took his own life.
The property will be searched further today by gardaí after forensic examinations conclude.
The pathologist's report will indicate the injuries inflicted on the victims and also help gardaí establish the time of their deaths. Detectives are to interview family members, friends and neighbours in a bid to find out if there had been anything unusual about Mr Hawe's behaviour in the days leading up to the tragedy.
If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article you can contact the Samaritans in confidence on 116 123.