Progress made towards Concepta Leonard inquest

FIVE years following her heartbreaking killing, the inquest into the death of popular Fermanagh woman Concepta Leonard is expected to finally begin in the coming months.
The 51-year-old, who was known as Connie to her family and friends, died on May 15th, 2017 after being attacked at her home on Abbey Road, Maguiresbridge. Her then 30-year-old son Conor, who has Down’s syndrome, was also seriously injured in the attack.
Mr Leonard’s former partner, 55-year-old Peadar Phair, took his own life later the same day, with the tragic incident believed to be a murder-suicide.
A preliminary hearing into the inquests of both Ms Leonard and Mr Phair was heard at Laganside court in Belfast on Monday this week.
During the brief hearing it was stated disclosure in the case was “ongoing”, with a vast amount of material already provided, such as information from Women’s Aid, CCTV footage, and transcripts of phone calls. Further material is still to be submitted, however, such as GP records.
The case had previously been delayed due to issues with the availability of the coroner’s court last year, following a backlog of cases.
Coroner Anne-Louise Toal said she was pleased with the progress that had been made in the case so far, noting the case had been “a massive undertaking in relation to the amount of material” required for the inquest.
While Monday’s hearing covered the inquests of both Ms Leonard and Mr Phair, Ms Toal had previously stated she intended to hear both inquests separately.
After being informed Ms Leonard’s family were distressed at the prospect her inquest being held simultaneously with the man believed to have killed her, the coroner had explained she had been holding the preliminary hearings together for ease, as much of the disclosure material was the same for both inquests.
Ms Toal stated she never intended to hold both inquests simultaneously. On Monday, she stated she believed Mr Phair’s inquest would be straight forward, but that Ms Leonard’s would take longer.
Ms Toal adjourned the hearing for another update on April 18th, ahead of the full inquest which is expected to take place in the following weeks.

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