Belfast Telegraph

Murder-suicide leaves two dead in Northern Ireland village

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

By Victoria Leonard

The deaths of a man and woman at a house on the outskirts of Maguiresbridge yesterday are understood to have been due to an apparent murder-suicide.

Detectives are currently 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.

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.

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.

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

Police had set up a large cordon with a one-mile radius around the Abbey Road house last night, with forensic officers kitted out in white suits working into the early hours.

Officers carrying out door-to-door enquiries were visible in the neighbourhood. 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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