Murder-suicide suspected after Cavan family are found dead in house

Bodies of man, woman and three children found in Ballyjamesduff house


A garda technical officer lifts tape as a hearse leaves the scene | Photo: PA Images

Gardaí say the deaths of a family of five in Cavan may have been caused by a murder-suicide.

The deceased have been named locally as primary school deputy principal Alan Hawe, who was in his 40s; his wife, Clodagh, who was in her 30s and also a teacher; and their three sons.

Their bodies were found in a house at Oakdene Downs in Barconey, near Ballyjamesduff, this morning. 

It is believed that the boys – Liam (13), Niall (11), and Ryan (6) – were discovered upstairs in their bedrooms, while their parents were downstairs.

Castlerahan National School – where the father worked, and two of the boys were pupils – said it was a "terrible tragedy" for the community.

"We are deeply saddened by this event," the school said in a statement.

"Our sympathy and our thoughts are with the extended family and friends.

"Alan was a valued member of our school staff and community. Niall and Ryan were pupils in our school and Liam was a past pupil. They were wonderful children who will be greatly missed by all who knew them."

Oristown National School, where the mother taught, also expressed its condolences.

"We are deeply saddened by this event.  Our sympathies and thoughts are with Clodagh’s family and friends.

"Clodagh was a much loved and valued teacher in our school and will be greatly missed by all who knew her."

Psychologists from the National Educational Psychological Service have been providing support to both schools.

No prior suspicions

Superintendent John O’Driscoll told reporters this evening that two officers made the discovery after receiving a call from a concerned member of the public. 

"What we can confirm is that we're not looking for anyone else. We believe all the answers are in that house," he said.

"The most likely scenario is that one person in that house may have caused the death of others. 

"All the circumstances will be explored but as it stands at the moment that is the position."

The property has been sealed off, and a number of objects are being given a "detailed technical examination". 

Gardaí are talking to neighbours and family members, but Mr O'Driscoll told reporters there did not appear to be any prior suspicions.     

"Nothing had happened prior to this grim discovery this morning that gave rise to anyone having any suspicion that anything was untoward and this family were engaged with the community and seen yesterday," he said.

"None of the activity and interaction with other people gave rise to any suspicion as to what was to happen." 

Three of the bodies were found upstairs in bedrooms, while the other two were in a downstairs room.

Mr O'Driscoll added that there was no evidence of a firearm being used. 

Post-mortem examinations are due to be carried out.