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Cavan family annihilation by a "brilliant Dad"

(243 Posts)
DoinItFine Thu 01-Sep-16 18:31:34

Is anyone else reading all about what an amazing guy Alan Hawe was with mounting disbelief and fury?

He stabbed his wife and three sons to death in a frenzied attack and then hung himself.

But poor him, he must have bern awful tortured. And he went to mass all the time.

Great Dad

You know when you read awful threads about abuse on MN and then out it comes "he's a great Dad", and you think "what does a man have to do to losr that label?"

Well apparently you can murder your 3 kids and still keep the Great Dad title. angry

AgentProvocateur Thu 01-Sep-16 18:35:17

Agree completely with everything you've said. Outrageous.

Soubriquet Thu 01-Sep-16 18:36:44

Another one?!

Why? What on earth posesses these men to do it

LineyReborn Thu 01-Sep-16 18:37:50

The man was a murderer. His children must have been terrified. And then he killed them. And he murdered his wife.

What kind of cognitive dissonance is going on in this community?

OlennasWimple Thu 01-Sep-16 18:38:24

And if he's a "great husband", what is a rubbish one like? angry

iPost Thu 01-Sep-16 18:40:25


There are 4 types of family annailators apparently

and the great dad thing seems to be part of the profile

DoinItFine Thu 01-Sep-16 18:40:58

Fred West - brilliant landlord

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 01-Sep-16 18:41:11

He murdered 3 children and their mother brutally. If anything is the opposite of a good father and husband that is it. And don't tell me he was a perfect loving non-controlling supportive partner and father before this. Because the chances are that he wasn't.

TeamFinn Thu 01-Sep-16 18:41:11

I just read a good article about this which was written by an Irish journalist and reprinted in the Guardian. It is about how Clodagh has been erased from the story completely. It is awful and so telling that this is how the story is reported. There was almost identical coverage of a similar murder-suicide in America where all coverage was about how wonderful the murderer was. This is not usually how women are portrayed when they kill their children. I'm so fucking pissed off about it.

Felascloak Thu 01-Sep-16 18:45:16

This kind of reporting happens all the time, I read one the other week titled "father found dead with his three children after family trip to theme park". No, he killed them all and their mother (not mentioned until about half way through the article) and then he killed themselves.
I saw the article linked by OP on feminist current and the first comment was some kind of hogwash about maybe he had paranoid schizophrenia and we shouldn't be casting aspersions against dead men. Even when they've battered their children to death with a hammer.
This is also why the family courts take DV and threats seriously in contact cases, yet we all have to pretend that wives who don't want exes to have access are vindictive lying bitches, rather than mothers who are genuinely scared their ex might turn out to be "a loving father who just cracked".
Sorry for ranting. This kind of reporting is a classic example of how much we are all gas lighted (gas lit? ) about male violence and it gives me the rage angry

TeamFinn Thu 01-Sep-16 18:46:13

Link to Guardian article.

iPost Thu 01-Sep-16 18:46:31

This sort of description seems to feature in every article about family annailators

the profile of a man who kills his family “is a middle-aged man, a good provider who would appear to neighbours to be a dedicated husband and a devoted father.”

Which may explain why in the shock of hearing the news so many who knew the family say " but he was a great dad/husband", becuase that is the face that was displayed to the public. And they can't wrap their heads around the man they thought they knew, and who he actually was when push came to shove.

I'll go and see if I can find it, but I read something in s a psychology journal (I think) a while ago that mentioned a form of Narcissism being part of the FA make up.

DoinItFine Thu 01-Sep-16 18:50:37

Linnea Dunne's article is brilliant.

The have actually started mentioning Clodagh Hawe since yesterday.

Before that it was all the tragedy of the "3 innocents" and their amazing Dad who murdered them.

VestigialVirgin Thu 01-Sep-16 18:50:47

Utterly sickening coverage as usual. So he managed to put on an acceptable public face prior to brutally murdering four innocent people. This does not merit being spoken about as if this was some inexplicable tragedy with a poor, tortured protagonist who deserves our sympathy. Why do these men always get the main focus of the story and the biggest appeal for sympathy? Oh yes, because they're men.

Soubriquet Thu 01-Sep-16 18:51:30

I come from the town where that man murdered his wife and daughter at the swimming pool.

Every single article said about what a good man he was and how out of the blue it was. Every single one.

FreshwaterSelkie Thu 01-Sep-16 19:08:10

It makes me so sad how willing we are as a society to excuse male violence, and to erase women. Feminist Current says a lot of what I want to say.

I hate that people stand up and say "oh, but he was such a great dad, he'd do anything for anyone". If his wife thought that, I'd eat my hat. I am pretty sure if you dug under the surface, he was a controlling and unpleasant father and husband. because you only have to look at his final act to conclude that. It's not impossible that he was a simply marvelous chap who decided to slaughter his wife and children out of the blue, but let's whip out occam's razor and admit that's the least likely explanation.

7Days Thu 01-Sep-16 19:28:02

I don't disagree.

But there are two responses when some one commits murder, disbelief, and I told you so.
This guy belongs to the disbelief side.

He was the local schoolteacher, and involved in the GAA club. Everyone in the village would have known him, and spent time with him.

There are no conflicted feelings about Clodagh and the boys. But for him there are.
How do you reconcile the nice community minded family man with this deed?
There's also the undercurrent of not speaking ill of the dead, and another undercurrent of mouthing nice platitudes in public rather than anything of substance.

Just some additional thoughts really

DoinItFine Thu 01-Sep-16 20:09:04

How do you reconcile the nice community minded family man with this deed?

You don't.

You recognise that murdering your family more than cancels out being involved in the GAA and going to Mass.

DoinItFine Thu 01-Sep-16 20:10:57

And the feelings about Clodagh seem to be so "unconflicted" that until late yesterday afternoon youbwould have been forgiven for thinking tye boys had no mother.

Never mind one that met same gruesome and brutal end as her sons.

tribpot Thu 01-Sep-16 20:18:36

This is of course similar to how mass murderers in the US are portrayed as 'mentally ill loners' (Newtown) if white, vs terrorists (Miami) if not white. The media, aka white men, apparently cannot cope with seeing themselves as murderers and adjust the story accordingly.

The MN thread on Craicnet noted that the mother and grandmother of the victims is referred to as 'the mother-in-law' in many reports, as if she has no purpose in the story except by her relationship to the killer.

Perhaps on the plus side (kind of), this attack is not reported as having happened 'after the marriage broke down', which was the case with the horrendous swimming pool attack - the implication being 'this is what you get for not staying married'.

DoinItFine Thu 01-Sep-16 20:23:02

The thing is, I really felt the disappearance of Clodagh from the narrative (until #HerNameWasClodagh etc yesterday) was to do with the "let's wait and see" of blame.

Like nobody wanted to include her as one of the "innocents" in case it turned out that his letter blamed her - she was leaving him or having an affair.

That there was a sense that since we knew Alan was such an amazing bloke, we needed to consider that itvwas probably Clidagh that pushed him into it.

7Days Thu 01-Sep-16 20:32:14

Hmm. Didn't think of it that way, Doin - about whether it was 'Clodagh's fault really' so can't say too much.

But I still think it is a lot for relations/friends/acquaintances to take in. It's not going to be a flick of the switch, people have to take it in. What would you say to a journalist if this happened in your area? 'He seemed a good person. He did me a favour once. My kids liked him as a teacher. There was no clue that he was anything other than a decent person with a happy family'. That's what I would say. The trouble is, a happy family, and a family controlled by an abuser look exactly the same to the looker-on.
The media are saying what they are being told by people in the area. And I don't believe anyone local would confide their suspicions - if they even had any - to a journalist on the prowl. Out of respect for those who are left.

I am by no means denying that there is a sexist bias to this. But it's not the only factor at play.

DoinItFine Thu 01-Sep-16 20:45:43

I would never tell a journalist, or anyone else, that a man who had just murdered a woman and 3 children was a great bloke, or mention any fagours he had done me.

It is unbelievable to me that anyone woukd think it appropriate or acceptable to describe a man who had just murdered all his children as "a brilliant Dad".

To go on public record in support of a murderer just because you knew him socially is fucked up.

The facts have changed completely.

You THOUGHT he was a nice bloke.

But clearly you were mistaken.

Do not go on the record singing the praises of a man who took a hatchet to his family.

Unless you think butchering women and children csn be overlooked if you are a good sort of bloke.

tribpot Thu 01-Sep-16 20:55:17

I think it's understandable that a community in a state of shock (who indeed may not yet be convinced that he is the murderer rather than a third party) might react with their kindest thoughts for all of those involved in the tragedy. Even Adam Lanza's family didn't respond with 'yep always knew he was going to be a murderer' (although they certainly didn't say 'he was a brilliant son and great friend' as his MH problems were already known about).

The question is why the media angles its stories to lead with 'brilliant dad murders family' rather than ''much loved and valued teacher' murdered with her children'. It isn't necessary to print all the nice things said about a murderer, the media is highly selective when it wants to be.

VestalVirgin Thu 01-Sep-16 21:10:27

One can only come to the conclusion to stay the hell away from "good" men who are "great dads" and the like.

Maybe bad boys are safer after all. Though probably not.

Spinsterhood is the only safe option.

I wouldn't say anything nice about a murderer except "He seemed nice".

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