Sunday 21 April 2019

Commissioner agrees to set up serious case review into murder of Clodagh Hawe and her sons

Clodagh Hawe's mother Mary Coll (left) and her sister Jacqueline Connelly leaving the Department of Justice in Dublin following a meeting with Justice minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Clodagh Hawe's mother Mary Coll (left) and her sister Jacqueline Connelly leaving the Department of Justice in Dublin following a meeting with Justice minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has agreed to set up a serious case review into the investigation surrounding the murder of Clodagh Hawe and her three sons.

Clodagh (39), Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) were killed in their home near Ballyjamesduff in August 2016 by Alan Hawe, who subsequently took his own life. 

This new development, confirmed by gardai, follows a meeting between Drew Harris and Clodagh’s family at Garda Headquarters in Dublin. 

“Commissioner Harris told the family that he has appointed Assistant Commissioner Barry O’Brien to conduct a serious case review of the investigation,” a garda spokesperson said. 

Justice minister Charlie Flanagan at the Department of Justice in Dublin following a meeting with Clodagh Hawe's mother Mary Coll and her sister Jacqueline Connelly. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Justice minister Charlie Flanagan at the Department of Justice in Dublin following a meeting with Clodagh Hawe's mother Mary Coll and her sister Jacqueline Connelly. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

“The review team will take a number of weeks to establish. Commissioner Harris said the family will be kept informed as the review progresses.”

The review will look at the garda response to the family’s deaths, rather than the lead up to the murders themselves.

Following today's meeting, Clodagh’s mother Mary and sister Jacqueline told members of the media that they welcomed the commissioner’s decision. 

“We have had a very constructive two-and-a-half hour meeting with the Garda Commissioner,” said Jacqueline Connolly. 

“He has agreed to conduct a serious case review headed by his Assistant Commissioner Barry O’Brien.

“We look forward to being appraised of that process in two weeks’ time.

“Once again, we would like to thank the media for the respectful coverage around Clodagh, Liam, Niall and Ryan and for the support we have received from everyone around the country.”

Gardai described the meeting as being conducted in a “dignified manner”.

“It is welcome that the family found it productive and it helped provided clarity for them on some matters,” a spokesperson said. 

“Commissioner Harris provided the family with information on the criminal investigation undertaken while also respecting the data protection rights and confidentially of those individuals who had given statements to An Garda Síochána in the course of the investigation.”

Earlier this year, the family was refused copies of the Garda files from the original investigation into the murders.

The have since been appealing for a new and full inquiry into the murders and to be given access to the Garda files. 

They are also calling for a review on Ireland’s inheritance law where a spouse can benefit financially from domestic murder. 

In an interview with the ‘Sunday Independent’, Ms Connolly said that in the days and weeks after the shocking killings, they slowly started to learn that as the victims’ family they had little rights.

This began when they moved to have Alan Hawe exhumed from the grave he shared with Clodagh, Liam, Niall and Ryan.

“Of course, when we tried to have the body exhumed we learned, as we did on so many occasions later, that we, Clodagh’s next of kin, had no rights. It would be the Hawe family that would have the ultimate say whether there would or would not be an exhumation,” she said. 

“We also would find out that under the Succession Act 1965, the Hawe family alone are entitled to all the proceeds of the estate.”

Since the inquest, Clodagh’s family have learned from the notes of his counsellor that Alan Hawe had been viewing pornography at work on a laptop, had been having regular urges to masturbate, and was experimenting with cross-dressing.

He had stated he had been caught “red-handed” and Ms Connolly and Ms Coll want to know what that refers to.

They have also been told by a local man that he saw Alan Hawe driving very close to the school where he was vice principal early on the morning of August 29.

“So, after Alan Hawe murdered his wife and three sons, did he leave the house to go to his place of work, Castlerahan National School, where he was vice-principal, perhaps to destroy evidence?” Ms Connolly asked. 

“When we asked a detective did gardaí pursue this line of inquiry - local witnesses saying they sighted the murderer driving that morning - we were accused of interfering with a witness because we allowed a local to tell us what they saw that morning.”

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