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Fermanagh murder-suicide: Tributes to 'amazing mother' Concepta Leonard

Businesswoman killed, son stabbed and man aged 55 dead in horrific incident at quiet Fermanagh village

By Victoria Leonard and Jonny Bell

Tributes have been paid to the "amazing mother" Concepta Leonard, who was killed as part of a apparent murder-suicide in Maguiresbridge.

Detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of a 51-year-old woman and 55-year-old man at a house in Abbey Road on the edge of the small Co Fermanagh village.

Newtownbutler Comhaltas extends their sincerest heartfelt sympathy to Dinny and all the family circle of the late...

Posted by Newtownbutler Cce on Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Everybody from the Traditional Session & St Patricks GFC would like to extend our very deepest sympathies to Conor...

Posted by The Clubhouse on Tuesday, May 16, 2017

R.I.P concepta Leonard you were a lovely woman can't believe the news I have just heard! Keep fighting hard Conor and I wish you a quick recovery young man!!

Posted by Barry Carey on Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Detectives have confirmed that they are not looking for anyone in relation to the incident at this stage.

The female victim has been named locally as Concepta Leonard, a former businesswoman and daughter of traditional Irish musician Dinny Leonard.

Online tributes have been made to the woman who was popular among traditional music circles in the tight-knit community.

"We will always remember Connie with great fondness for her affection, dedication and energetic outlook shown in all areas of her life; as an amazing mother, daughter, sister, music teacher and friend," said traditional music group Newtownbutler CCE in a Facebook post.

It is understood that a third victim, believed to be Concepta's 30-year-old son Conor, was taken by ambulance to the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen, and is in a stable condition. Police are treating the attack on him as attempted murder.

Conor, who has Down's Syndrome is thought to have raised the alarm.

 

Fermanagh MLA and DUP leader Arlene Foster offered her sympathies.

"Such a tragedy in Maguiresbridge yesterday. Thoughts and prayers to the young man who survived. He is I understand critical but stable," she tweeted.

It is believed that Ms Leonard's estranged partner carried out the attack.

Police set up a large cordon with a one-mile radius around the Abbey Road house on Monday night, with forensic officers kitted out in white suits working into the early hours. They remained at the scene on Tuesday morning.

In a statement, Detective Chief Inspector Eamon Corrigan said: “Post mortem examinations will be carried out in due course and at this stage we are working to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.

"Although our enquiries are at an early stage, we are threating the death of the woman as murder. The injuries to a man, aged in his 30s, who was also in the house at the time of the incident and who suffered stab wounds to his abdomen, is being treated as attempted murder. He is currently in hospital in a stable condition.

"We are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident at this time but I would ask anyone with any information which could assist us with our enquiries to contact detectives at the Incident Room in Lisnaskea on 101 quoting reference number 774 15/05/17.”

Read more: Fermanagh deaths: Other tragic events that rocked local communities

Officers carrying out door-to-door enquiries were visible in the neighbourhood on Monday evening. The large detached house on the hill was well illuminated as a steady stream of forensic officers moved around the property, appearing to focus on the upper floors as well as searching the front garden.

Despite the hive of activity, no residents had gathered at the cordon, with only the sounds of police cars breaking the night's silence.

The house is situated on a plot of land which is separated from the other houses, and is located less than one mile from St Mary's Primary School.

Former Fermanagh and South Tyrone SDLP MLA Richie McPhillips, who knows the Leonard family, said that there was a sense of shock and sadness in the community over the tragedy.

"This is a tragic case for all involved and I want to send my condolences and sympathies to Concepta's family," he stated.

"Concepta was a businesswoman in the south Fermanagh region, she was involved in catering and had a business in Lisnaskea in recent years. She was also a musician and played traditional Irish music, including the accordion, like her father.

"She had a good sense of humour; they are very solid, salt of the earth people-good community people.

"She had a son with Down's syndrome, Conor, and when you saw Concepta you saw him.

"From a very early age I recall him being involved in traditional music - he always took part.

"Concepta's father has been very involved in the promotion of traditional Irish music for many, many years - he teaches classes all over the community and has given his talent to young people.

"He would have taught a lot of young folk in the south Fermanagh and wider region.

"Concepta wasn't an only child and just last week her brother, who is a fireman, was interviewed on TV as he was involved in fighting the forest fires in this area.

"Reports are sketchy as to the circumstances but it was a tragic, tragic case for those involved.

"Thanks be to God it's rare in this part of the world, but for someone from your own area to be involved makes it all the more poignant."

Sinn Fein MLA Sean Lynch said that there was a deep sense of shock in the community over the incident.

"I was speaking to people in a shop and local people are in a state of shock over this news," he said.

"The family of the lady are very well-known in this area and my thoughts and prayers are with them.

"Reports are sketchy at the moment but it looks like a tragic set of circumstances."

UUP MP Tom Elliott also extended his condolences to the victims' families.

"The local community is in shock tonight at the news that a man and a woman have been found dead in a house outside Maguiresbridge tonight," he stated.

"My thoughts and prayers are with those who are bereaved."

Erne East UUP Councillor Victor Warrington described the Maguiresbridge area as a "rural, tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone".

"We don't know the circumstances yet but this is a very sad situation for the families involved," he stated.

"I would like to send my condolences to the family over this sad and tragic event.

"It is a tragedy for the whole area.

"Unfortunately it is the second tragedy to hit Maguiresbridge recently, with the death of four-year-old Thomas Magee last month."

Sinn Fein MLA Michelle Gildernew said that the tragedy had "upset many".

"The deaths of the woman and man in Maguiresbride is a tragedy," she commented.

"This is a quite a tight knit community and the news has upset many.

"I have spoken to family members who are quite obviously shocked and devastated.

"I would appeal for anyone with information surrounding this incident to bring it to the PSNI."

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