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'Not everyone struggling with mental health is going to kill their children'

Hawe diagnosis is 'dangerous', warns grieving mother who lost her sons

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Kathleen Chada. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Kathleen Chada. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Kathleen Chada. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

The mother of two young boys who were murdered by their father says putting a mental health diagnosis on Alan Hawe is a "dangerous thing to do" as it almost excuses his actions.

Saying she is fully supportive of the family of teacher Clodagh Hawe, Kathleen Chada says there is often a rush to use "mental health" as a reason for such murders.

Ms Chada's two sons - Eoghan (10) and Ruairí (5) - were murdered by their father Sanjeev Chada in July 2013.

He was subsequently found guilty of their murder and jailed for life.

Ms Chada said there are some similarities between the murders of her two sons and the murder of Ms Hawe (39), her three sons Liam (13), Niall (11) and six-year-old Ryan.

Alan Hawe murdered his family at their home in Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan in August 2016. Hawe took his own life after he committed the murders. He wrote letters to family members and transferred money from the family's joint account to his own current account after he murdered his wife and sons, and before he took his own life.

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Niall, Ryan and Liam Hawe and their mum Clodagh

Niall, Ryan and Liam Hawe and their mum Clodagh

Niall, Ryan and Liam Hawe and their mum Clodagh

"Quite similar to Sanjeev, people say 'he must have been insane'. Well, he wasn't. He didn't fit the criteria. He was just an evil man. Because Alan Hawe is dead, there's the sense of rewriting that narrative," Ms Chada said.

"I think it does a disservice to the family, to Clodagh and the boys and a disservice to other families out there and other potential victims. Not everybody struggling with depression or mental illness is going to kill their children.

"I spent the first number of months [after the murder of her sons] going would it be easier for me to say my husband was insane rather than my husband is an evil b*****d and killed my children?

"Of course it would be easier if he was insane because it puts a diagnosis on something and we're always looking for a diagnosis, a label.

"But sometimes people are just evil. That's the only word and that's the only word we can use for people like Sanjeev or Alan Hawe and the meticulous level of planning they both put into trying to put the blame on others - Sanjeev saying 'Mammy's getting rid of me' [to her sons] and Alan Hawe saying he 'didn't want Clodagh to clean up after his mess'.

"We all want things to be easy and to try and explain something but you're trying to explain the inexplicable.

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"There will be more cases unfortunately so we have to learn from them and what has happened.

"There's been a lot of saying we need to learn, but not enough being done."

Ms Chada said she fully supports the family of Clodagh Hawe - her mother Mary Coll and sister Jacqueline Connolly - in their calls for a new enquiry into their murders.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan last night said he spoke to the family earlier and he will meet Ms Coll and Ms Connolly on Thursday to talk about "any possible inquiry".

The two women told RTÉ's 'Claire Byrne Live' on Monday they have unanswered questions over the tragedy - and have been refused access to the Garda file and relevant investigations.

Yesterday in the Dáil, the Government was urged to ensure Clodagh's family get access to basic information pertaining to the investigation.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the tragic murders of Clodagh, Liam, Niall and Ryan "stretches our human capacity to understand".

The family also want all information shared with families who lose loved ones to familicide as soon as is practical, after they had to wait 16 months for a copy of a letter that was left by Alan.

Mr Martin said: "There is no compelling reason why basic information could not have been given to Clodagh's family much earlier."

The Taoiseach said what happened "must be beyond anyone's worst nightmares and it was truly a terrible crime" but noted there were concerns about privileged information given to gardaí during an investigation.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article please contact: Samaritans on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.ie


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