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Son praised for his bravery at mother's funeral

The funeral took place in the Church of Saint Mary, Brookeborough, on Friday. Photo: Press Eye

The son of a woman who was murdered in Co Fermanagh has been praised for his courage at her funeral.

Concepta Leonard, who was 51, died after being stabbed at her Abbey Road home in a quiet rural area near Lisnaskea on Monday.

Her son Conor, who has Down’s Syndrome, was also injured in the attack, but he did what he could to help her.

A priest at her funeral on Friday said “in that moment of madness, Conor cared for and protected his mum” by holding her hand and seeking help.

It is believed the 30-year-old summoned help via an alert system installed in their home.

Credit: UTV

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."

Ms Leonard died at the scene while her son was taken to hospital where he received stitches for his wounds.

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.

– Fr Brendan Gallagher

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

His funeral took place on Thursday.

Fr Brendan Gallagher said Concepta Leonard, known as Connie, 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.

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

"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."

And he added that she had a special bond with Conor.

The priest went on: "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."