Cavan murder-suicide: 'Notes found' at Hawe house

Coffins are taken to hearses in, Barconey, Ballyjamesduff in Cavan, 29 August 2016 Image copyright PA
Image caption Police are not currently looking for anyone else in relation to the deaths

Notes and documents have been discovered by Irish police in the house where five members of the same family were found dead after an apparent murder-suicide.

Teachers Alan and Clodagh Hawe, along with their sons Liam, 13, Niall, 11 and Ryan, 6, were found in their home near Ballyjamesduff on Monday.

A note was also found on the back door when a relative raised the alarm.

It told people not to enter the house and to call the police.

At the scene: BBC News NI's Julian Fowler

Police stand by a cordon at the entrance to a cul-de-sac of four detached houses overlooking the countryside.

Behind the cordon forensic officers continue their examination of the Hawe family home.

A policeman stands beside a bouquet of flowers placed on a pillar outside the house.

There is a sense of shock and disbelief in the area.

A statement pinned to the notice-board of Castlerahan National School describes the horrific event as a terrible tragedy "for the family, our school and our community".

Gardaí (Irish police) said they were not looking for anyone else in relation to the deaths.

There was no evidence that any firearms were used in the house, police added.

'Answers in that house'

"The most likely scenario is that one person in that house may have caused the deaths of the others," said Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The alarm was raised on Monday morning when someone called to the house and became suspicious

Police were working along "very definite lines of inquiry," he added.

"We believe all the answers are in that house."

Image copyright East Cavan Eagles Club
Image caption Alan Hawe and his sons, Liam, Niall and Ryan who belonged to the East Cavan Eagles basketball club

The alarm was raised at about 10:45 local time on Monday when someone called to the house and became suspicious.

Mr Hawe was a deputy principal at Castlerahan National School, where his sons, Niall and Ryan, were pupils.

Mrs Hawe was also a teacher and worked at Oristown National School in County Meath.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll said the most likely scenario was that one person in the house killed the others

Anne Foley, principal at St Mary's National School, Castlerahan, described the news as a "terrible tragedy".

"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.

Image caption Bishop Leo O'Reilly said the whole community was "deeply traumatised"

"They were wonderful children who will be greatly missed by all who knew them."

Mrs Hawe was a "much loved and valued teacher" who would be "greatly missed", said Ann O'Kelly-Lynch, the principal of Oristown National School.

The Catholic bishop of Kilmore, Leo O'Reilly, said the whole community was "deeply traumatised" by the deaths. He said the local priest, Rev Felim Kelly, was still in shock and that everyone was "numbed and bewildered".

"It was so shocking because they were so well known in the community," he told Radio Ulster's Evening Extra on Tuesday.

"They were very much involved in the church. It is so hard to say anything that could make sense of this."

He said his thoughts and sympathies were with the families - the parents - of those who died.

Image caption Castlerahan National School, where Alan Hawe worked as deputy principal and sons Niall and Ryan were pupils

"Both must also be very traumatised. It is so hard to say anything that could make sense of this," he said.

"It is so difficult for a family that was so much a family of faith. You wonder what does this mean? ... My experience is that when people have faith to fall back on, it helps them to cope."

The bishop said the local national school, St Mary's in Castlerahan, had remained closed on Tuesday as teachers were given support and advice on how to talk to the children about the tragedy and their friends' deaths.

The school is due to reopen on Wednesday.

"The impact of this will last for a long time, there are so many people touched by it that it has to require a lot of healing," he said.

Local councillor Paddy Smith said the community was "shell shocked at this terrible tragedy".

"This has come as complete and utter shock to everybody in the area and everybody who knew the family because they were a very steady, hard-working family," he said.

Anyone affected by any of the issues in this story can contact the Samaritans website or call 116 123.

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