Belfast Telegraph

Murdered Concepta Leonard's dad in round-the-clock hospital vigil for his injured grandson Conor

Disabled victim stable after being stabbed in the abdomen

By Victoria Leonard

The father of Concepta 'Connie' Leonard is maintaining a round-the-clock vigil at his disabled grandson's hospital bedside after a murder-suicide left Fermanagh in shock.

Well-known Irish musician Dinny Leonard has been supporting his murdered daughter Connie's son, Conor, who is in his 30s and suffers from Down's syndrome, at the South West Acute Hospital since the horrifying Maguiresbridge incident that claimed the life of Conor's 51-year-old mother and her former partner.

The attack on Conor, who was also in the house at the time of the incident and suffered stab wounds to his abdomen, is being treated as attempted murder.

Yesterday, Connie's stepsister confirmed that he was "stable and doing well" in hospital.

The man who died is Connie's estranged 55-year-old partner Peadar Phair, who is not Conor's father.

Detectives last night remained at the scene on Abbey Road where the tragedy occurred.

They have confirmed that Ms Leonard's death is being treated as murder and that they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident.

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."

Ms Leonard was a businesswoman who had been involved in catering in the south Fermanagh area and had run a company in Lisnaskea.

She was also a musician who played traditional Irish music, including the accordion, like her father.

As news of Ms Leonard's death became public, social media tributes poured in to a woman described as "smart, funny and caring".

Fermanagh Women's Aid said the "tragic and horrific" case highlighted the "dreadful reality of domestic violence."

It added: "We at Fermanagh Women's Aid wish to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Concepta Leonard and we wish her son, Conor, a full, speedy recovery.

"Concepta's death highlights the nature of domestic violence.

"It highlights that for hundreds and thousands of women home can be a dangerous place; the perpetrator knows you, and he knows where you live.

"He also knows how to hurt you.

"This case is tragic and horrific, it will shock and scare people.

"Concepta's life matters - she was a smart, funny caring woman. She was murdered by the man she had once loved.

"The enormity of this, the dreadful reality of domestic violence, is still not talked about enough.

"The most appropriate response is one that preserves Concepta's privacy and her dignity, that protects her son and her family and that recognises that we must not ignore domestic violence or allow it to fall off our political, policy and funding agenda.

"The awful reality of this murder is that Concepta's name is now on a list of women in the UK and Ireland who have been killed by their partner or ex-partner - and though we will react with shock in the days to come, we must endeavour to protect the women in our community who are suffering on a daily basis.

"As a society, we must ask what more can we do - all of us?

"How do we help our family and friends - our neighbours to stay safe?

"How do we stop more women being added to the list? Let us remember that Concepta is not a statistic, she was a woman in our community, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a victim of domestic violence."

Sports clubs and music groups throughout Co Fermanagh also paid tribute to the popular local woman.

St Patrick's Gaelic Football Club Donagh, where Connie and her son attended traditional Irish music sessions, stated: "Everybody from the Traditional Session and St Patricks GFC would like to extend our very deepest sympathies to Conor, Dinny and the family and friends of Concepta Leonard.

"Concepta is well known as a local teacher of Irish music.

"Dinny, Conor and Concepta attend our weekly Traditional Session on Thursday nights.

"We wish Conor a very speedy recovery.

"As a mark of respect there will be no Traditional Session in the clubhouse this week.

"May she rest in peace."

The Newtownbutler Comhaltas Irish music and cultural group also extended their "sincerest heartfelt sympathy" to Connie's family and wished Conor a full and speedy recovery. They stated: "We have a great musical association with this great family and have in recent years enjoyed their musical talents on our stage at our trad concert.

"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.

"May you rest in peace Connie, and may God give strength to Conor to get well soon, and may your family find comfort in the beautiful memories you have left behind."

Police have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to contact detectives at the Incident Room in Lisnaskea on 101 quoting reference number 774 15/05/17

Women's Aid's free 24 hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline can be contacted on 0808 802 1414.

Belfast Telegraph


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