Hawe murders: Relatives of victims decry lack of support

Alan Hawe killed his wife and sons in their family home in 2016 Image copyright Hawe family
Image caption Alan Hawe killed his wife and sons in their family home in 2016

The family of a woman killed with her three sons by her husband has criticised a lack of support by the state and institutions.

Alan Hawe killed his wife, Clodagh, and their sons at their County Cavan home near Ballyjamesduff in August 2016.

The children were aged six, 11 and 13.

In February, Clodagh's mother, Mary Coll, and sister, Jacqueline Connolly, appeared on RTÉ's Claire Byrne Live to tell their story.

They were due to speak at a conference in Enniskillen on Wednesday on coercive control, but organisers said they were unable to attend as they were both "physically, mentally and emotionally drained".

The chief executive of Fermanagh Women's Aid, Mary McCann, speaking on behalf of Ms Coll and Ms Connolly, said at the time of the murders, 11 clergymen were rung by Ms McColl and Ms Connolly looking for guidance and direction.

"No one responded," she said.

"Not one support service came to their door. Not Women's Aid, not social services. Nobody.

"And Mary says they would have welcomed and they needed it so much at that time.

"Maybe that's the first lesson we have to learn today."

In a later statement, Mary Coll and Jacqueline Connolly said they wanted to thank all those who had supported them both locally and nationally.

"From the moment this tragedy occurred, neighbours, friends and the local community then and throughout our grieving have been so supportive."

"However, we believe the state institutions and our legislation could do better in supporting survivors or the relations of the victims in such tragedies."

Image caption Mary McCann of Fermanagh Women's Aid speaking in front of a photo of Jacqueline Connolly and Mary Coll

Ms McCann said Ms Coll had told her that Alan Hawe had given her "a one way ticket to hell", but she was glad she had gone public with her story.

"Somehow a weight had been lifted from them," she said.

"For the past two years they have felt gagged."

An inquest returned four verdicts of unlawful killing and a verdict of suicide in the case of Alan Hawe.

Her family said Alan Hawe was concerned about an imminent fall from grace and the breakdown of his marriage.

Update 5 April 2019: This story has been amended following a new statement by Clodagh's mother, Mary Coll, and sister, Jacqueline Connolly

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