Northern Ireland

Death of woman in Maguiresbridge treated as murder

Concepta Leonard Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Concepta Leonard ran a catering business in Lisnaskea and was described as a great musician and active parishioner

Police are treating as murder the death of a 51-year-old woman in Maguiresbridge, County Fermanagh.

The body of Concepta Leonard was found in a house in Abbey Road on Monday.

Her son Conor, who is in his 30s, and has Down's syndrome, was found with stab wounds to his stomach. He is in a stable condition in hospital.

It is thought they were attacked by 55-year-old Peadar Phair, a former partner of Ms Leonard. His body was also found at the house.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption It is believed Peadar Phair, 55, had moved away from the area a number of years ago

Police are treating the attack on Conor Leonard as attempted murder. They are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

Det Ch Insp 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."

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Media captionNeighbours say they are in shock

He appealed for anyone with information to contact police.

Fr Lawrence Dawson, the priest in Ms Leonard's parish of Aghavea, said a "wave of shock and grief" had spread through the area.

Image caption Fr Lawrence Dawson said the community was 'rallying around the family'

"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 said.

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

"But it's a tight-knit community here and they're rallying around the family and they'll help them pull through it and help them to face the future with faith and courage."

Image caption The incident happened in the Abbey Road area

Reporting from the scene, the BBC's Julian Fowler said both families were from the local area but Mr Phair had moved away a number of years ago, and that his relationship with Ms Leonard had ended.

Connie Leonard ran a catering business in Lisnaskea.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Police said they are not looking for anyone in relation to the incident

Local businessman Richie McPhillips, who knows both families, said it was "a terrible situation for the young man to have come through, and obviously he has to live with it now".

Mr McPhillips said he would "hope and pray" that family and friends would rally around.