Gardaí (Irish police) are believed to have found two notes at the scene of this week's murder-suicide in Co. Cavan in which a couple and their three young sons died.

The bodies of Alan Hawe (40) and Clodagh Hawe (39) were discovered in two separate rooms in their home in Ballyjamesduff on Monday morning, while the bodies of their three sons Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) were found in two separate bedrooms.

Gardaí believe Clodagh Hawe was stabbed by her husband before he strangled and stabbed their three young boys in their sleep. Alan Hawe, who was a vice principal in a local elementary school, then proceeded to take his own life by hanging himself.

A family member who visited the house on Monday morning found a note attached to the backdoor advising any visitors to contact the gardaí and not to enter the house themselves. When gardaí arrived at the house they discovered the five bodies along with a possible second confession note left by Alan Hawe which is currently being examined in the hope it may reveal a motive for the murders. The letter was sealed and addressed to family relatives.

Gardaí are said to be working on the basis that the murder of the four other family members was “planned” and are not currently looking for any other suspects. They removed a number of knives from the property thought to have been used in the murders.

Read more: Mystery of why teacher killed his wife and three kids before killing himself

According to the Irish Examiner, Hawe, who taught at Castlerahan National School, an elementary school also attended by his two youngest sons Niall and Ryan, had planned the murders which occurred in the early hours of Monday morning.

“An envelope has been found in the house that is believed to be very relevant to the case,” a Garda source said.

“He sat down and planned this: it was not blind rage.”

Gardaí are currently seeking answers regarding the mental health of the father in the lead up to the tragedy, asking the public for any information that could be connected to the deaths just a day before he was set to return to work as a teacher after the summer vacation.

They are set to speak to his friends and colleagues to unravel the mystery surrounding his motives and are particularly interested in discovering if there had been any indication prior to the summer vacation that he was under pressure in work or had come into conflict with somebody which could have caused a deterioration in his mental health as the school start date approached.

Clodagh Hawe (nee Coll) was also set to return to work this week in Oristown National School in Kells, Co. Meath, where she worked as an elementary school teacher. 

“She was great to chat to, very friendly, although I wouldn’t have known her as well as Alan but I’d see them always at Mass on Sundays,” a family friend told the Sunday World.

“Both Alan and Clodagh were very religious and they were readers in mass. Young Liam (their eldest son), was a very good singer in the choir. The family were always together.

“If you saw one you saw them all, they were very close.”

Her husband has been described by neighbors and locals as a good man who “never put a step wrong.”

“If he said he would support you, he did. He was a man of his word and a good man and that’s why this is all so confusing,” one family friend told the Irish Mirror.

All members of the family were seen at a local GAA match on Sunday afternoon just hours before their death. They are said to have been active members of the Castlerahan GAA club. Alan was just beginning his first year as Treasurer of the club. The family was described as “salt of the earth” by neighbors.

A funeral for the five members of the Hawe family will take place over the weekend and has been reserved for family, loved ones and parishioners.

Clodagh is the 87th Irish woman to be killed by a current or former partner since 1996.