A MAGUIRESBRIDGE mother who was killed by her former partner was ‘let down by the state agencies’, her brother told an inquest at Belfast Coroner’s Court yesterday.
Concepta Leonard, aged 51, was stabbed by Peadar Phair at her home on May 15, 2017.
Her son Conor Gallagher who has Down’s syndrome and was 30 at the time, was also injured in the attack.
Mr Phair later took his own life.
Ms Leonard’s close friend Sinead McKenna described how terrified her friend had been after being threatened by Mr Phair and how they had established a rota to ensure people were with her as often as they could.
Ms Leonard’s brother Fergal described how Mr Phair ‘isolated’ his sister from her family and questioned why he had not been detained after breaching an emergency non-molestation order.
In a statement Ms Leonard’s son Conor Gallagher described how Mr Phair had taken their phones and pulled a holy picture off the wall before forcing them upstairs to a bedroom where he stabbed Ms Leonard.
He said he saw his mother being stabbed but managed to retrieve the phones from Mr Phair’s pocket. He threw a house phone at him, telling him to put away the knife and go back to jail.
The phone hit Mr Phair on the head but he stabbed Mr Gallagher in the stomach before leaving.
Mr Leonard, giving evidence, said the family had reservations about Mr Phair due to his ‘bad reputation’
“Connie was such a good girl, she said to me everyone deserved a second chance,” he told the inquest.
He went on to say that the police assessed his sister as medium risk, which he queried, adding that they should have recognised Conor was also vulnerable.
“I feel that Concepta was let down by some of the agencies. I think there was an opportunity missed whenever there were breaches in the non-molestation order to arrest Phair.”
The inquest continues.
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