A wife, a mother and a widow in one year
Published: 21 Dec 2012 08:301 comment
Four decades later and Mr Leonard's grieving wife still believes this man had something to do with the shooting of her husband.
"I was a wife, a mother and a widow all in one year. I was convinced, and still am, that this particular person had something to do with the whole thing," said an emotional Betty Leonard, who has never got over the death of her "soul-mate".
"I think often about how different my life would have been had Louis lived because we had massive plans, and one of them was to have lots of children. I did intend to have a large family and that was denied to me. His plan was to open up several butcher shops, he was a born businessman and he had the tenacity and the motivation, the love of hard work, and all of that combined, and I think with me behind him he would have succeeded," she told The Impartial Reporter.
"He wasn't just my husband, he was my soul-mate and I suppose I didn't understand that term until in recent years. He used to phone me every day; we were just a pair."
On the night of December 15, Mrs Leonard saw her husband alive for the final time. After a shopping trip with her sister, she returned to the butcher's shop to help prepare for deliveries.
"It was 9pm when I got there. I remember two young fellas came in to chat Louis about football. I was trying to get parcels ready and one of them said: 'Are you not afraid about being robbed Louis?' And he lifted the knife and said: 'I have the tools and I know how to use them'. Those were his last words."
She recalls, with much anxiety, the moment a local man walked into the butcher's shop and threatened to shoot her husband days before. Believing the man had something to do with his death she sought a meeting with him a month after the murder.
"I asked the investigating officer to let me meet him; he brought him to my house and I asked him about it. And do you know he said to me? 'Worst things could happen... keep your chin up'. He then shook the hands of all my family and left. I can't remember anger being an emotion then, but I was grieving, it was beyond grief."
Following the murder, Mrs Leonard found it difficult to cope, having to bring up the couple's only son Tony, run the business and look after her ill mother.
"When I used to go to bed at night everything was nice and bright in my dreams. When I woke up everything was black -- reality had hit. I used to be driving along; I wasn't able to pray and I remember screaming to God; 'How can I keep going?'. I had to grow up very quickly. I was only 26 and I remember the clergyman asking me how I was and I said: 'I feel like an old woman'. I really did feel like 108 at that time. It was very difficult."
Mrs Leonard, who gets a lot of joy out of spending time with her grandchildren (pictured), says it is her and her family's "main aim" to keep calling for justice for Louis.
At the weekend, a number of events took place in Fermanagh. On Friday, a play entitled 'Troubled Conversations' was held in the Knocks Community hall. On Saturday, family and friends took part in a memorial walk in Derrylin, addressed by veteran civil rights campaigner and former council chairman, Paul Corrigan. Then an anniversary mass was held at St. Patrick's Church in Donagh with a speech afterwards by Peter Quinn, family friend and former president of the GAA. On Sunday, a short wreath laying ceremony was held at Louis' grave followed by the unveiling of a memorial plaque at the GAA grounds.
Commentscomments powered by Disqus
Get more stories from our Roundup section
7 Mar 2014 22:05
Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath has made two changes to his starting team from the side that started against Longford against last Sunday
7 Mar 2014 21:30 • Editorial Department
A shoplifting couple caught stealing clothes from a number of shops in Enniskillen “hope to start afresh” in Belfast.
7 Mar 2014 19:00 • Editorial Department
Ballinamallard United are in for a busy few days with two big games in three days coming up.
7 Mar 2014 15:00
Fermanagh Trust @FermanaghTrust Taxes do NOT cover the cost of Children’s Hospice @NIHospice but do fund play parks, business support services, airport hangars, etc WHY?
7 Mar 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department
ROARING engines and squealing tyres may become a thing of the past in Hollyhill link car park after Fermanagh District Council teamed up with the PSNI and Road Service to tackle the problem.
7 Mar 2014 11:50 • Editorial Department
Police are releasing an efit image based on a description of a man they would like to speak to.
7 Mar 2014 11:00 • Lily Dane
Pictured 50 years ago are Mrs. Florence Carrothers, Saloon, Ballinamallard (on right) and Miss Dorrie Foy, of Wheathill, Derrygonelly, who share the Hassard Cup as they were equal in gaining the greatest number of points in the home baking section of the County Show.
7 Mar 2014 10:00 • Rodney Edwards
SINN Fein’s Phil Flanagan (pictured) has described the behaviour of some financial institutions as “disgraceful” after he was charged £168 for four failed direct debit payments by his bank.
7 Mar 2014 09:25
Holders Enniskillen Town Utd will have to overcome Junior Cup semi-finalists Lisnarick if they are to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Impartial Reporter Mulhern Cup.
6 Mar 2014 21:20 • Rodney Edwards
Firefighters are dealing with a blaze in Donagh tonight (Thursday).
6 Mar 2014 21:00 • Julie Kenwell
DIRECTOR of this year’s Enniskillen Drama Festival says he fears for the future of the event on the eve of its opening night.
6 Mar 2014 19:00 • Rodney Edwards
Spake: “There must be a funeral... there are cones out.”
6 Mar 2014 19:00 • Julie Kenwell
MENTION the term domestic abuse and often the stereotype that comes to mind is a struggle between a male and female in their home.
6 Mar 2014 18:00 • Editorial Department
An armed robber been jailed for three-and-a-half years for holding up the Halifax Bank in Enniskillen using a machete.
6 Mar 2014 17:00 • Rodney Edwards
DUP Councillor Bert Johnston cried “I paid the price” during a lively Council debate on Monday night after a Sinn Fein councillor claimed he had been involved in a fracas many years a go in which “somebody got a kick in the ass.”
6 Mar 2014 16:00 • Editorial Department
FERMANAGH District Council has rejected a proposal by one of its councillors who suggested that it helps Erne Rovers acquire a football pitch.
6 Mar 2014 15:30 • Rodney Edwards
AT least three people in Fermanagh regarded as ‘on-the-run’ have received a so-called secret letter from the Northern Ireland Office, it has been claimed.
6 Mar 2014 15:30 • Editorial Department
The on-the-runs (OTR) issue ought to have been relatively straightforward.
6 Mar 2014 15:30 • Rodney Edwards
A prospective UUP Council candidate has defended himself after he called Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly “scum” and a “tramp” on Facebook.
6 Mar 2014 15:05
Enniskillen Olympic triathlete Gavin Noble is to take a step back from ITU Racing this season as he pursues a career with Specialized Bikes, the Enniskillen man taking up the position of Global Sports Marketing Manager for Triathlon for Specialized.