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Monday 21 October 2019

'We have no rights' - Clodagh's family left €50k in debt after Hawe murder-suicide

Reform: Top: Clodagh Hawe’s sister Jacqueline Connolly and mother Mary Coll
Photo: Steve Humphreys
Reform: Top: Clodagh Hawe’s sister Jacqueline Connolly and mother Mary Coll Photo: Steve Humphreys
Alan Hawe with Clodagh and their sons Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6)
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

The family of Clodagh Hawe faced debts of more than €50,000 in funeral and legal costs after her husband Alan Hawe killed her and their three sons.

Speaking as they search for copies of Garda files into the investigations into the murder-suicide, Clodagh's sister Jacqueline Connolly and mother Mary Coll say they want laws on succession to change so that the relatives of people who wipe out their families do not benefit financially from their crime.

Alan Hawe transferred money from the joint account he had with Clodagh into his own account before killing himself, his wife and sons Liam (13), Niall (11), and Ryan (6) in August 2016.

It is thought he did this so that his family would inherit the money.

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."

Last Thursday, Ms Connolly and Ms Coll met with Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to discuss the 1965 Act.

"It must be reformed as soon as possible so that murderers, or their family if they end their own life, do not financially benefit from their crime," said Ms Connolly.

"Last week, I also spoke with Jim O'Callaghan, Fianna Fáil's justice spokesperson, who said it must be a priority to change this law.

"Let's get this law changed immediately. Please, please stop financially rewarding the perpetrators of femicide and familicide. At the inquest, we learned that Alan Hawe transferred funds and arranged his affairs so his family would be the sole financial beneficiaries of his estate."

"Please do not add insult to our injury, loss and grieving, thinking we want money," added Ms Connolly.

"But trying to get answers to our questions, plus the expenses for the funerals and legal costs we had for the inquest, have all added up to more than €50,000 - bills my mother, retired, and I, a widow, are struggling to pay."

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."

Irish Independent

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