‘A true Irish lady’ – Irish grandmother, 55, murdered in her London flat 'had the biggest love for Ireland’
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‘A true Irish lady’ – Irish grandmother, 55, murdered in her London flat 'had the biggest love for Ireland’

AN IRISH grandmother murdered in her London home has been described as a “strong woman” who had the “biggest love for Ireland”.

Hannah Leonard, 55, was found stabbed to death in her 10th floor flat on the Chalcots Estate in Camden on Friday.

On Monday, a 28-year-old man and 43-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of murder at a separate address in Kilburn.

James Whitaker and Lucy Casey appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday morning, charged with the killing.

Speaking for the first time since her mother’s death, daughter Caroline Snowling said she was “extremely loyal” and doted on her two grandsons, Jack, 6, and Jamie, 15.

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She added that her mum, who was born in Co. Cork before moving to London in the 1980s, was a “true Irish lady” and a “very strong and independent woman”.

Caroline told the Camden New Journal: “I know for sure that she was known in the community and loved. We are unable to put her to rest, so if anyone wants to leave a tribute, they can put flowers at her door.

“She was really sentimental about things and I know she’d like them at her door.

Ms Leonard, who lived alone, was a popular resident on Chalcots Estate and had befriended security personnel employed to patrol her building while contractors removed flammable cladding, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

She would regularly drop into their control room at the bottom of the tower in the middle of the night, and even spent Christmas Eve with them.

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Security manager Sarah-Jane Millar described Ms Leonard as having had the “biggest love and pride for her family and Ireland”.

She said: “Hannah would come and sit with us overnight and we’d keep her company.

“Many evenings were spent listening to Irish folk tunes and her talking about her grandson whom she clearly adored.

“Put [Fields of Athenry] on and she would stop mid-sentence and start singing.”

In a message to her mother, Caroline told The Irish Post: “My mum is still alive and has just gone away for a while to an invisible place called Heaven.

"I look forward to the day you greet me at the gates and you reach out your hand where I will feel your touch again.”

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Caroline added: “I love you mum and will see you again soon but until then fly with the angels and always grace my side.

“I know my mum is with me and will always be by my side I will see you at the gates of Heaven soon.”

Sister Catherine Leonard added: “My wonderful beautiful sister Hannah, you were so kind, thoughtful and caring. You were always there for me and I was always there for you.

“I miss you so much, day and night, I will never forget you. Love you so much. Love always and forever your loving sister Catherine, dad, mum and family.”

James Whitaker and Lucy Casey, who are both from Kilburn, have been remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on Thursday.