Belfast Telegraph

Marion Millican murder accused 'said he was going to kill ex-lover'

By Chris Kilpatrick

A spurned lover warned others he was plotting to kill both himself and his former partner before she was shot dead, a court has been told.

Fred McClenaghan was said to have told counsellors of his plans in the months before his ex-girlfriend, Marion Millican, was killed.

The 52-year-old from Broad Street in Magherafelt was yesterday told his trial for murder would continue after the prosecution rejected his guilty plea for the lesser charge of manslaughter.

The court heard it was no accident, but "murder, pure and simple".

McClenaghan is accused of murdering the mother-of-four as she ate lunch with a colleague in the launderette in which they worked on March 11, 2011.

Judge Mr Justice Treacy told the jury he wanted "to make it clear to you the prosecution do not accept his plea to guilty of manslaughter, and therefore the trial in this case will proceed".

Opening, prosecutor Neil Connor said it was the prosecution case "that the accused was motivated by his anger at Marion Millican ending their relationship".

The jury was told that Ms Millican had broken up with her husband in 2009 before becoming involved in a relationship with McClenaghan.

Mr Connor said a number of witnesses would give evidence of how Ms Millican had confided in them she had been the victim of violence. Ms Millican and McClenaghan split in December 2010. The court was told she and her estranged husband had been "on the path of reconciliation and a resumption of their marriage".

Just before Ms Millican's death, McClenaghan told counsellors he planned to kill both her and himself, the court heard.

Mr Connor said: "That he equipped himself with that shotgun, went to her place of work, and in a frame of mind, informed only by his anger at her, caused by her rejection of him, and his treatment of her, deliberately shot her, killing her," he said.

CCTV footage is said to show McClenaghan entering the launderette in Portstewart armed with a shotgun.

The prosecution said he went into the kitchen and grabbed Ms Millican, ordering her outside.

She refused and a shot was fired into the ground.

The court also heard that during police interviews McClenaghan remained mostly silent, although his solicitor did hand in a prepared statement which was read to detectives.

In the statement, McClenaghan claimed he planned to take his own life in front of Ms Millican and that her shooting was an accident.

However, Mr Connor said that forensic examination of various items forming part of the case, "we say, gives the lie to this death having resulted from an accident".

The court was told in the months before her death Ms Millican was warned by police of a threat from McClenaghan.

The trial continues.

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