Northern Ireland news

Killer of Co Fermanagh woman had spoken of taking his own life, inquest told

Concepta Leonard was murdered by her former partner at her Co Fermanagh home in May 2017.
Staff reporter

An inquest has heard how a man who stabbed his former partner to death in Co Fermanagh had spoken of taking his own life the day before the murder.

Concepta Leonard (51) was killed at her home near Maguiresbridge in May 2017 by Paedar Phair, before he took his own life.

Ms Leonard's son Conor Gallagher, who has Down's Syndrome, was also injured during the attack on his mother.

The inquest into Ms Leonard's death heard how the day before he killed his ex-partner, Phair visited a bar he often frequented.

There he spoke with James Smyth, a barman who was not working that evening, and discussed how he was planning to kill himself.

Mr Smyth told the hearing Phair said he "had everything planned" and was "more drunk than usual" when making the comments.

The barman said Phair was a "generally happy" person but "wasn't happy" that day.

Phair repeatedly said "I'm broke this time. I never thought a woman would break me," the inquest heard.

Upon leaving the bar, Phair "waved to everybody" and appeared "relaxed", as if he had turned a corner.

Meanwhile, a PSNI officer told the inquest how he knew something was wrong after speaking with Ms Leonard after a 999 call on the day she was murdered.

A call to a PSNI station had been detected from a silent alarm system which had been connected to her home after an emergency non-molestation order against Phair was secured.

Upon calling her back, the officer said Ms Leonard had a "shake" in her voice which made him "concerned", and police were sent to her home from Lisnaskea.

Ms Leonard's son Conor also made a 999 call that was picked up by a civilian emergency call handler.

The handler told the inquest that Conor repeatedly asked for police to be sent to their home, and said there was a knife in the house

The inquest continues.

Northern Ireland news