THE mother of the tragic Hawe family was found face down on the sofa with injuries to her head and neck while her sons were found dead in their beds, an inquest has heard.
The inquest into the deaths of the five family members began today at Cavan courthouse.
The hearing is expected to run for at least two days, hearing evidence from a number of witnesses.
At the opening of the inquest County Coroner Dr Mary Flanagan commented that this was a “particularly emotive” inquest.
Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis gave post-mortem evidence of all five deaths, which occurred at the family home in Castlerahan on August 29, 2016, according to the Anglo-Celt.
The body of Clodagh Hawe was found lying face down on a sofa in the living room in her pyjamas and dressing gown.
The inquest heard she had injuries to her head and neck, and suffered penetrating wounds to her skull, two weapons were found nearby.
The bodies of Liam, 14, and Niall, 11, were found in separate single beds in one room upstairs, with that of Ryan, 6, found in an adjacent bedroom.
Another weapon was found on the pillow next to Ryan’s body.
All three boys had died from injuries to their necks, and had their duvets pulled up.
When asked by Dr Flanagan, Dr Curtis said he believed it was 'not coincidental' the three boys suffered similar type wounds to their necks.
He added the belief that Mr Hawe killed his wife Clodagh, followed by eldest son Liam in order to avoid by “possibility of physical challenge. But I can’t be certain of that.”
The body of husband and father Mr Hawe was also found at the family’s home at 3 Oakdene Downs, Barcony in Castlerahan.
His body was discovered in the hallway, and Dr Curtis said the cause of death in his case was by hanging.
The toxicology reports carried out on Mr Hawe’s body at time of post-mortem showed “negative” for intoxicants.
In the en-suite bedroom shared by the married couple, the inquest heard how jewellery boxes were found “neatly stacked” on the bed.
Giving evidence to the inquest, Clodagh Hawe's mother Mary Coll said the last time she had seen them the night before on August 28 at her home where they had 'tea and biscuits and were chatty' while the boys watched television and Alan Hawe checked the dates for the Ploughing Championship.
Before they left that evening, Clodagh told her mother she would visit the following morning with two of her sons.
However, when she failed to arrive that morning, Mrs Coll went to the Hawe family home to check on them.
Initially she thought there may have been an accident with carbon monoxide, as there were still two cars in the driveway and the curtains drawn.
But upon arriving at the backdoor, she saw the note pinned to the backdoor saying: "Don't come in, call the gardaí."
She said she felt something “terrible” had happened.
“It was his writing, and I knew he had done something terrible,” she told Dr Flanagan.
The depositions of members of the Garda Technical Bureau, including ballistic and handwriting experts was also heard.
Scene supervisior Det Sgt John Grant outlined how documents and a sealed note were found on the kitchen table.
A bloodied partial “palm print” of Mr Hawe was discovered on the handle of one weapon as well as a handwritten note was found at the home.
Fingerprint expert Det Gda Gerry meanwhile said he was in “no doubt” that marks found on one of the pages of a three-page handwritten letter were left by the left ring finger and left middle finger of Mr Hawe.
Mr Hawe was the vice-principal of Castlerahan National School and the family were heavily involved in the local community.
Clodagh was originally from the nearby village of Mount Nugent and taught at Oristown National School near Kells in Co Meath.
The body of Mr Hawe, originally from Kilkenny, was earlier this year exhumed from the family grave at St Mary’s Church in Castlerahan to be cremated.
The inquest will resume tomorrow.