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‘Evil visited this community’ – Devoted mother and talented Irish musician Connie Leonard is laid to rest

Concepta ‘Connie’ Leonard Funeral Mass at St Mary’s Church, Brookeborough. Ms Leonard’s coffin is carried, while her son Conor, centre right, is comforted by a loved one. (Picture: Fermanagh Herald/Andrew Paton)

MURDER victim Connie Leonard has been laid to rest just days after she was stabbed in her Co. Fermanagh home. 

Ms Leonard, 51, sustained fatal stab injuries in an alleged murder-suicide at her rural Lisnaskea home on May 15.

Her son Conor, 30, who attended the funeral was also stabbed in the abdomen and treated in hospital.

Connie Leonard sustained fatal stab injuries at her home (Picture: RTÉ)

Another man, Peadar Phair 55, died at the property.

At the Funeral Mass in the Church of St Mary, Brookeboro, Co. Fermanagh, Fr Brendan Gallagher said evil had visited the community and in a “moment of madness” Ms Leonard lost her life.

“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.

“That is the reality, the horror of evil intent […] In such a horrific death which Connie experienced, the constant question is: Why? Why should such a terrible thing happen to such a beautiful person?

“Where is our God in this moment of evil? Could this tragedy have been avoided? Circumstances could have been different.”

“The circumstances and the tragedy of Connie’s death, cannot destroy the love that was in her heart and soul… So today we celebrate all that was loving, tender and beautiful in Connie’s life,” Fr Gallagher said.

Mourners also heard how Ms Leonard possessed a musical gift, in an “unassuming” way, from an early age travelling with her father Dinny Leonard for Fleadhs all over the country and how she had shared her talents with many others.

“She possessed so many beautiful gifts, but she carried them in a very unassuming, humble way.

“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.”

Ms Leonard had an “unassuming” musical gift. (Picture: Newtownbutler Comhaltas)

Fr Gallagher also told the congregation how her son, Conor, was at the heart of everything for Connie.

“She was a devoted mother and together they shared a special bond of love. 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,” he said.

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

“Conor is our future and our reason to hope. His love and his affection will be a source of healing for all, he is the light that will renew the spirit of hope in our lives,” Fr Gallagher added.

Police are treating the death of Ms Leonard as murder and the attack on her son as attempted murder. The PSNI have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

Anyone with any information that could assist with enquiries should contact the PSNI at the Incident Room in Lisnaskea on 101 quoting reference number 774 15/05/17.

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Erica Doyle Higgins
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Erica Doyle Higgins is a Digital Reporter with The Irish Post. You can follow her on Twitter @EDoyleHiggins Do you have a story to share? Email erica@irishpost.co.uk

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