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Brave son 'fought with mum's killer' before being stabbed in 'murder-suicide'

Concepta Leonard was killed in her home
Concepta Leonard was killed in her home

A "hero" son fought to save his mum from the clutches of her killer before being stabbed in a suspected murder-suicide in Co Fermanagh.

Tragic Concepta 'Connie' Leonard (51) was killed in her home while her son Conor was stabbed in his abdomen, leaving him fighting for his life in hospital.

Peadar Phair (55) was also found dead at the home in Maguiresbridge.

Conor (30), who has Down's syndrome, was hailed a hero for struggling with Phair before he was stabbed by his mother's estranged partner in the stomach.

The man who died is understood to be Connie's estranged partner, who is not Conor's father. It's alleged that the 55-year-old killer was an infamous wife beater in the past.

Detectives remain at the scene on Abbey Road where the incident occurred yesterday.

They have confirmed that they are treating Ms Leonard's death as murder. They have also stated that they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident.

Ms Leonard was a businesswoman who had been involved in catering in the south Fermanagh region and once ran a business in nearby Lisnaskea.

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

Police said they weren't looking for anyone else in connection with the murder of Connie Leonard, having quickly established that Phair was the killer.

Neighbours said that Phair and Connie had split up some months ago.

"But he wouldn't take no for an answer," said a woman who knew him.

"He was a monster and it was no wonder that Connie wanted rid of him."

On his Facebook page, Phair said he bought and sold mechanical equipment and offered his services as an 'odd job man'.

Parish priest Fr Lawrence Dawson said a "wave of shock and grief" had spread through the area.

"I knew Connie very well, she was an active member of the parish, a great musician, an all-Ireland champion and she shared her talents in church services," he told the BBC.

"It affects everyone when they see how fragile life is and how easily it can be snuffed out."

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

"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 and speedy recovery," it stated.

"Concepta's life matters - she was a smart, funny caring woman. The enormity of this, the dreadful reality of domestic violence, is still not talked about enough."

Meanwhile, sports clubs and music groups throughout Co Fermanagh paid tribute to the popular local woman.

St Patrick's Gaelic Football Club Donagh, where Connie and her son attended traditional music sessions, said: "Everybody from the traditional session and St Patrick's GFC would like to extend our very deepest sympathies to Conor, Dinny and the family and friends of Concepta Leonard. We wish Conor a very speedy recovery."

Newtownbutler Comhaltas also extended its "sincerest heartfelt sympathy".

"We will always remember Connie with great fondness for her affection, dedication and energetic outlook shown in all areas of her life," said the traditional Irish music group.

Ivan Little

Via Independent.ie/Belfast Telegraph