Belfast Telegraph

Stabbed man praised for bravery in seeking help for murdered mother

A son who went to the aid of his murdered mother has been praised for his courage during her funeral.

Concepta Leonard and her son Conor, who has Down's Syndrome, were stabbed at their house in Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, on Monday and Mr Leonard summoned emergency help.

The attack was believed to have been carried out by her former partner, whose body was also found at the house.

The funeral of Ms Leonard, 51, took place in the Church of Saint Mary, Brookeborough, on Friday.

Parish priest Fr Brendan Gallagher said: "On Monday afternoon, in the light of a May day, evil intent visited this peaceful community.

"Evil lurking in the shadow, seeking to destroy life.

"But in that moment of madness, Conor cared for and protected his mum.

"We see him holding her hand to reassure her and we see him finding the courage and confidence to seek help."

The mother-of-one had secured a court order banning her suspected killer Peadar Phair from contacting her just weeks before she was murdered.

His funeral took place on Thursday.

Mr Leonard, 30, is believed to have summoned help via an alert system installed in their home.

His mother died at the scene but her son was taken to hospital where he received stitches for his wounds.

Fr Gallagher added: "She had Conor with her, and that was the most important person she wanted with her at that moment.

"The circumstances and the tragedy of Connie's death, cannot destroy the love that was in her heart and soul."

He told the mourners, she was born into a family home that was filled with the sound of music and from the age of six travelled with her father Dinny Leonard to Irish traditional music sessions the length and breadth of Ireland.

As a girl she claimed three All Ireland medals in accordion and piano.

Fr Gallagher said: "It was a gift she wanted to share with others, bringing so many young people into the love of the traditional music and culture.

"Whether it was here in Brookeborough, or Donagh or Lisnaskea. All over the county and beyond.

"With her energy and enthusiasm, her infectious smile and the twinkle in her eye, she has left a legacy of musical talent for generations to come."

She was unassuming and humble, a devoted mother who shared a special bond of love for her son, the priest said.

"Conor was at the heart of everything in her life and together they developed friendships and lived experiences that most of us could only dream about.

"Conor had complete faith and trust in her and she, as a mother, gave him the confidence to live an independent life."

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