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Family of Irish woman killed welcome murderer's sentence: 'He got what he deserved'

LeeAnn Foley
LeeAnn Foley

Relatives of an Irish woman blasted to death in London by her ex-boyfriend welcomed the news this week he has been jailed for life.

Richard Conroy (38) gunned down accountant Leann Foley with a sawn-off shotgun at the flat they shared in Holloway, north London.

On Thursday he was sentenced to at least 24-and-a-half years for her murder.

Conroy has claimed her death came about after he attempted to kill himself, telling the judge Foley had grabbed the gun and it went off.

However, Foley was shot twice and the judge rejected his version of events completely.

Judge Chapple said: 'Returning again and again to the second shot that was fired – Mr Conroy fired that second shot with murderous intention.
'I have great difficulty understanding how an intention to commit suicide changed into an intention to kill his partner within a second or two.
'He would have to have pumped the gun backwards and forwards in the space of two seconds, aimed and fired – while the defence case is possible, it seems very much less than likely.'
He added: 'The second shot fire two seconds after the first makes it makes it incredible that the first shot was by way of an accident in the course of Mr Conroy's own attempted suicide.
'I'm sure on all the evidence that that's not what happened, I'm sure that both shots were fired deliberately at Ms Foley with murderous intention.'

Irish-born LeeAnn had moved to the UK with her family when she was six but originally comes from County Cork.

Her cousin Sabrina Foley told the Sunday World this week that it was: “Great news that he finally gets what he deserves.”

The Sunday World can also reveal that Conroy should have been in jail when he killed his girlfriend last year.

Conroy was jailed for six years in 2010 for stabbing a Holloway shopkeeper in the head during a bungled robbery. Conroy, then aged 33, and another man burst into a newsagent’s as the 57-year-old victim was working inside.

After holding a knife to his head and threatening to cut his throat, the robbers punched and stabbed him in the head. The shopkeeper survived the attack, and Conroy and fellow robber Patrick Brennan were caught just two hours later with st£5,000 of stolen booze and cigarettes in their getaway car. He was released midway through the sentence, and was on licence reporting to the probation service when he killed LeeAnn.

The 38-year-old killer shot dead his girlfriend at their home just yards from Arsenal's Emirates Stadium began his sentence last week after appearing at Inner London Crown Court.

LeeAnn who worked as an accountant for a military defence company in Fulham, was found on 1 November last year suffering from shotgun wounds.

Police had been immediately alerted to the shooting at 9.30am on a Saturday morning and raced to the property where she lived with her long-time boyfriend.

A local doctor attended the scene with paramedics who desperately battled to stabilise the young woman’s condition but was pronounced dead before she could be rushed to hospital.

She had sustained multiple blast-type injuries to her torso.

Conroy was arrested and charged with the murder a short time later.

The scene was immediately sealed off to allow for a full technical and forensic examination by Metropolitan Police officers.

He found in the flat was arrested at the scene and taken to a nearby police station for questioning over the weekend.

He appeared at Highbury Magistrates Court the next day and was remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey where he admitted his guilt last week.

Locals in both Cork and London expressed horror at the killing of a woman described as “kind and extremely generous.”

Cork neighbours recalled the Foley family but had few memories of Leeann due to the length of time she spent in London, according to reports.

However, it is understood she made several visits back to Ireland, on one of which she was accompanied by her boyfriend.

Tributes from friends were posted on her Facebook page in the following days in which one friend. described her as an angel.

Close friend Adele Butcher said at the time: “She was a popular straightforward Irish girl, an amazing person and touched so many people’s lives and changed my life when I became friends with her.”

“She always looked out for people, was a loyal friend to me and always kept my secrets. She loved pubs and travelling and we went everywhere together around Europe. She was an angel to a lot of people,” she added.