Belfast Telegraph

Marion Millican's daughter slams murderer Fred McClenaghan's sentence

By Chris Kilpatrick and Harriet Crawford

The daughter of a murdered mother-of-four hit out after it emerged her killer could be freed from prison in just over 12 years.

Fred McClenaghan (52) was convicted last month for murdering 51-year-old Marion Millican after she ended their relationship.

She was shot in the chest at the laundrette where she worked in Portstewart on March 11, 2011.

The father-of-two, from Broad Street, Magherafelt, showed little emotion at Antrim Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, when told he will spend a minimum of 16 years in prison.

The term was the same given during his first trial for the killing, the outcome of which was overturned on a technicality.

Having already spent almost four years on remand after his arrest within hours of the shooting, McClenaghan could be eligible for parole in little over 12 years.

As the sentence was passed down, family members comforted Marion's daughter, Suzanne Davis.

She looked away from McClenaghan as he was led from the dock. Outside Laganside Courthouse, Mrs Davis said she was "very disappointed" at the minimum tariff.

Mr Justice Treacy told McClenaghan he had caused "irreversible and devastating loss" to Mrs Millican's family.

Referring to witness impact statements, the judge said they bore testimony to the "love and affection" relatives had for the victim.

McClenaghan consistently claimed he went to the launderette to kill himself, with Mrs Millican accidentally shot during a struggle for the weapon. A jury rejected his version of events, unanimously finding him guilty of murder.

Mr Justice Treacy continued: "In convicting the defendant of the murder of Mrs Millican the jury has rejected the suggestion that her death resulted from an accidental discharge of the shotgun or that the defendant's responsibility for her death was diminished by reason of an abnormality of mind.

"But its verdict, the jury has found that the defendant was fully responsible for the deliberate and intentional shooting of the deceased on that date in question."

The judge ordered McClenaghan spend 16 years in prison before he can be considered for parole.

That includes almost four years he has already spent on remand since being arrested in 2011.

The judge said: "In my judgment the offender's culpability is high and Mrs Millican was vulnerable and completely defenceless.

"She was taken by surprise at her place of work and immediately confronted by the armed defendant. She had no means of escape and was subjected to a terrifying ordeal which involved an initial discharge of the weapon which was designed to terrify and subdue the deceased and her work colleague."

In mitigation, the judge said he was taking into account that McClenaghan was suffering from depression at the time of the murder.

He said that while McClenaghan had expressed remorse, it had to be taken in the context he has consistently claimed the killing was an accident.

Family ripped apart by killing

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