Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Musicians' guard of honour at funeral of murder victim Concepta Leonard

By Victoria Leonard

Murder victim Concepta 'Connie' Leonard is to be laid to rest tomorrow morning - four days after she was brutally killed by her estranged partner Peadar Phair in a shocking murder-suicide.

The Fermanagh mother's son Conor, who is in his 30s and has Down's Syndrome, is recovering from stab wounds to the stomach which he sustained defending his mother against her attacker, who died as a result of suicide.

After the attack in Maguiresbridge, Conor was admitted to the South West Acute Hospital, where his condition was described as "stable" yesterday.

Connie's funeral will take place at St Mary's Church in Brookeborough, her native village, at 11am tomorrow morning.

She will be buried afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

The coroner yesterday authorised the release of Phair's body.

It has since emerged that Ms Leonard had been due in court the day after her murder to seek a new non-molestation order against Phair, as a previous restraining order granted to her on March 21 had been due to expire two days ago.

Sonny McDermott, who knows the Leonard family well, said there had been an "outpouring of desperate grief" at her death.

Mr McDermott, chairman of the local Irish music society, revealed that there will be a guard of honour from the Comhaltas County Board at the funeral of the popular music teacher.

"Connie was very well known in Irish music circles, like her father Dinny, and would have taught hundreds of students in preparation for Fleadhs down the years," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"She was very talented and taught different instruments like the accordion, the fiddle, the banjo and drums.

"She would have been here every week teaching classes and she had a number of groups ready for the Fermanagh Fleadh, which is coming up.

"She was a big part of the community, and she will be very much missed. It's unbelievable, you couldn't explain how much of a loss it is.

"She was so young, she was in her prime. She was a very nice woman.

"Everybody in this part of the country and in the music world is shocked, they don't know what to say or do. There has been an outpouring of desperate grief.

"There will be a guard of honour from the Comhalthas County Board at her funeral and I'm sure there will be musicians playing. Other musicians will want to celebrate her life.

"She is being buried in Brookeborough, and I would expect her funeral to be packed out. It is only a small church but I would expect it to be full to capacity. I am sure there will be people left outside who won't get a seat."

Sonny also expressed his sympathy for Connie's son Conor, to whom she was devoted.

"Everybody feels so much for Conor," he said. "I would also like to send my condolences to the entire Leonard family."

BY VICTORIA LEONARD

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph