Northern Ireland news

Son of murder-suicide victim Connie Leonard 'an inspiration'

Concepta Leonard's son Conor carried his mother's coffin at her funeral on Friday
Andrew Madden

THE son of a Fermanagh woman believed to have been murdered by her former partner has been described as an “inspiration” by her family.

Concepta (Connie) Leonard (51) was found with stab wounds at her home at Abbey Road, Maguiresbridge, last Monday afternoon.

Her only son Conor (30), who has Down’s syndrome, was also injured.

It is thought he was stabbed in the abdomen while defending his mother.

They are believed to have been attacked by Peadar Phair (55), who then took his own life at the scene.

The well-known businesswoman had applied to have Phair made the subject of a non-molestation order. A court hearing was due to have taken place on Tuesday.

Police are not seeking anyone else in connection with the attack.

Mr Leonard, a talented musician, was taken to South West Hospital in Enniskillen to be treated for his injuries.

His grandfather Dinny Leonard, also a well known traditional musician, was by his bedside.

He was later discharged and carried his mother’s coffin at her funeral at St Mary’s Church, Brookeborough, on Friday.

Ms Leonard’s brother Fergal said yesterday that his nephew, who is believed to have raised the alarm after the attack, is taking it “one step at a time”.

“Conor is like any other son or daughter to their mother and father. Every parent thinks highly of their child and Conor was no different – he was loved by Connie and is loved by us all,” he told BBC Radio Ulster.

“He has been an inspiration to all our family and friends and people looking at this sad situation. Conor may have gifts that we don’t even know he has.

“[Conor] has a great network of friends and family and he has lots of great friends through his own network.

“I am sure there will be lots of professional people available to help Conor as well.”

Mr Leonard thanked the community for their support.

“It’s a very close-knit community here in Brookeborough. People throughout the years have always helped each other out,” he said.

“There’s been support from right across the country. We’ve even had messages from people we’ve never met and will probably never meet.

“We really appreciate everyone’s thoughts, prayers and messages of support. Thank you so much.”

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