Belfast Telegraph

Health chiefs defend their handling of murder threat patient who went on to kill former lover

By Lisa Smyth

Health bosses have defended their handling of a patient who warned he felt suicidal and was going to kill his former lover.

Fred McClenaghan — found guilty this week of murdering Marion Millican — admitted during counselling sessions he had thoughts about killing himself and his former partner.

It comes after the Belfast Telegraph revealed three police officers will face disciplinary action for failing to act over a threat that McClenaghan had a gun and was a danger to his former lover.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Health and Social Care Trust said an independent review found the care and treatment of McClenaghan was both timely and appropriate.

She said while some aspects of the case could have been improved, “none of these matters would have had a bearing on the tragic outcome”.

The spokeswoman said that the trust reported the threats made by McClenaghan to the PSNI.

On Tuesday the 49-year-old was jailed for life for shooting Mrs Millican at the launderette where she worked in March 2011.

During their relationship he had been violent on a number of occasions and made two threats that he would kill her.

In December 2010 — the month she ended the relationship — the PSNI received a report that he had threatened to kill Mrs Millican and himself. They told her of this threat. Within weeks, on January 25, the police became aware of a second threat.

A number of mental health experts spoke about McClenaghan’s worrying behaviour.

A psychiatric nurse said that during an assessment in December 2010, McClenaghan said he had thoughts about “stabbing” his girlfriend and “overdosing” himself.

And a senior social worker who met McClenaghan on February 24 said his former client had told him about having nightmares about killing people.

He said he felt Marion Millican had “deserted” him.

Background

Marion Millican was shot with an antique double-barrelled shotgun dating back to the late 19th century. The police confirmed during the trial that the gun was never licensed to anyone in Northern Ireland. The jury sitting in Antrim Crown Court deliberated for just an hour and 20 minutes before convicting McClenaghan. McClenaghan had been in a relationship with Mrs Millican (51), but this had ended in December 2010.

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