Belfast Telegraph

Marion Millican knew ex was there to kill her, pal tells murder trial

By Michael Donnelly

A mother-of-four who was blasted to death with a shotgun in the launderette where she worked knew she was facing death at the hands of her former lover, a court has heard.

Pamela Henry – a friend and workmate of 51-year-old Marion Millican – told police after the killing how she made a terrified dash for freedom, leaving her ashen-faced friend in the clutches of "mad, violent" Fred McClenaghan.

McClenaghan (52) from Broad Street, Magherafelt, has denied Ms Millican's murder but admitted manslaughter – a plea rejected by the prosecution.

McClenaghan has claimed he accidently shot his former lover during a botched suicide attempt.

After the shooting in Portstewart on March 11, 2011, Mrs Henry made a run for the launderette door. She said she looked back to see "poor wee Marion, her face was so white".

"She knew, she knew."

Mrs Henry told the Antrim Crown Court trial in Belfast she would "never forget" the look on her friend's face.

"I just wanted out... I felt so sorry leaving her, but there was nothing I could do. I couldn't attempt to bring her with me," Mrs Henry explained in the police recording. She added that Marion was "afraid, scared, I saw it on her face".

Mrs Henry also claimed Marion had winked and nodded to her, and agreed with police that it appeared as if her friend was telling her to get out.

Their ordeal had begun when they heard someone at the door. Marion got up to see who it was, and whispered back: "You're not going to believe who it is." She said that "before I knew it he was on top of the two of us".

Armed with a shotgun, McClenaghan grabbed Marion by the arm, telling her: "You're coming with me. We have to talk."

Time and again Mrs Henry described McClenaghan as being "in a violent mood, a mad man, a man who was meaning business".

Marion refused to go with him, pleading that her boss would soon return and that it was best if they just talked in the shop.

She said when she saw the shotgun slung under his arm, she thought at first it was "for a joke".

But McClenaghan fired a shot, blasting a hole in the kitchen floor between the two women.

Mrs Henry said at this point she had to get out and "flew to the toilet" and bolted the door, only for McClenaghan to smash it open. He tried to snatch her mobile phone from her. He failed and in the confusion Mrs Henry managed to escape. She ran to a nearby shop where she stopped a couple who raised the alarm.

Mrs Henry said when he came in "he was really aggressive, meaning business, and knowing what he was going to do", and that throughout her ordeal she was in fear of her life and was terrified she would be killed.

However, she also agreed that while she had told police that it had lasted for about 20 minutes, in reality, the whole episode lasted only about three minutes, and she had been wrong in her estimation, given her "confusion and shock".

At hearing.

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