Thursday 17 October 2019

Family killer Alan Hawe's thyroid problem is a 'distraction' and 'not the reason' for crimes

Clodagh Hawe. Photo: Jacqueline Connolly/Facebook
Clodagh Hawe. Photo: Jacqueline Connolly/Facebook
The three brothers - Ryan, Niall and Liam - celebrate a birthday at the family home in Castlerahan, near Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan.
Clodagh Hawe with her sons Niall, Ryan and Liam on a holiday in Venice

Cathal McMahon and Conor Feehan

A thyroid problem allegedly suffered by family killer Alan Hawe has been dismissed as a "side distraction" and not an excuse for his heinous crimes.

Reports revealed today that the Hawe may have been suffering from psychosis brought on by thyroid problems when he slaughtered his wife Clodagh (39) along with their three sons Liam (14), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) before taking his own life.

Killer Alan Hawe
Killer Alan Hawe

The Irish Daily Star reports that a post mortem carried out by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis found that Hawe’s thyroid gland revealed features of Hashimoto’s thyroditis.

According to Dr Curtis there is a connection between this disease “in the acute phase” and “psychiatric illness including psychosis”.

Dr Curtis concludes that while it may be coincidental the “distinct possibility exists that he was suffering acute psychosis”.

However a source close to the investigation dismissed this theory and claimed that it contradicts much of the evidence previously known in the case.

Clodagh Hawe with her sons Niall, Ryan and Liam on a holiday in Venice
Clodagh Hawe with her sons Niall, Ryan and Liam on a holiday in Venice

“If he was having an acute psychotic episode, as this theory suggests, then why did he so meticulously plan the murder of his wife and three children.” has learned that there are a number of actions carried out by Hawe before the murders at the family home in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan that would indicate he was not suffering a spontaneous psychotic episode:

  • He had the axe in the house before the killing when it was usually locked in a shed;
  • Hawe waited until his children had gone to bed before murdering his wife and then each of the boys;
  • After murdering his family Hawe laid out all the folders of their financial affairs and his wife’s jewellery on their bed;
  • He then used the computer to transfer money from their joint account to his own private account;
  • Evidence suggests that he had started writing his suicide note before the attacks and completed it afterwards, writing at least another three and a half pages after the killings;
  • Hawe was seeing a counsellor and wrote in his suicide note: “How could I pretend to be so normal for so long?”


The source said: “If this was an acute episode then it would not have been carried out in such a meticulous and controlled fashion.

The source continued: “A person suffering a psychotic episode does not remember their pin codes to log into online banking and they cannot write three and a half pages of notes. It’s not logical.

“An acute episode comes over you all of a sudden at a time outside of your control. This does not appear to be the case with Alan Hawe. This thyroid problem appears to be a side distraction and is not an excuse.”

The inquest was due to be held in the Spring of this year but was pushed back to October or November after the report by Dr Curtis. The Star reports that Cavan County Coronoer Dr Mary Flanagan asked Professor Harry Kennedy of the Central Mental Hospital to see if there are any traces of psychotic in Hawe before the August 29 murder suicide.

Dr Kennedy will examine all evidence, including Hawe's suicide note.

At the weekend Clodagh’s mother Mary Coll revealed that there was a three-page letter in an envelope in which Hawe outlined why he had done what he had done.

The family were unable to  go into the full details and expect that to come out at the inquest in October.

She said: "And there was another letter with bloodstains on it that he must have written afterwards. He was about to experience a fall from grace, and lose the air of respectability he felt he had in the community. He said in the letter that Clodagh didn't know anything about this, and they were happy together.

"He also wrote 'How could I pretend to be so normal for so long?'," Mary explained.

Clodagh's family were unavailable for comment. contacted Hawe’s family solicitor for a comment.

Mary Coll and Jacqueline Connolly are fundraising for 'Cavan Lighthouse', which they hope will provide for family aid refuge for victims of domestic violence. Donations can be made here

Samaritans 24 hr Freephone Helpline: 116123 or

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