Belfast Telegraph

Quashed convictions, retrials and a new jury: how case played out

By Cate McCurry

March 11, 2011: Marion Millican (51) is shot dead by her former boyfriend, Fred McClenaghan, in the Portstewart laundrette where she worked.

He is arrested within hours of the shooting.

June 2012: McClenaghan claims during the trial into Mrs Millican's murder that he accidentally shot her while attempting to kill himself in front of her.

The court hears how the mother-of-four had ended the relationship some three months before her death.

July 3, 2012: McClenaghan, from Magherafelt, is convicted of her murder. The jury rejects claims both of diminished responsibility and that the shooting was an accident.

September 2012: McClenaghan is sentenced to 16 years in prison. The victim's daughter, Suzanne Davis, describes the sentence as "very lenient, especially for such a violent crime".

January, 29, 2014: McClenaghan's murder conviction is quashed on a technicality and a retrial is ordered.

September 16, 2014: A retrial gets under way and a jury is sworn in. Prosecution rejects McClenaghan's guilty plea to manslaughter and he faces a charge of murder.

September 29, 2014: A second trial is aborted after Mr Justice Tracey dismisses the jury because several jurors left the court building at lunchtime to get chips. A new jury is sworn in and the retrial begins again.

November 5, 2014: The jury finds McClenaghan guilty of murder for a second time.

November 2016: McClenaghan challenges the verdict and the Court of Appeal hears that the jury were wrongly denied the chance to consider alternative manslaughter charges. Lawyers for McClenaghan argue there is enough evidence to back his claim to have accidentally killed Mrs Millican during a struggle.

December 2016: McClenaghan has his murder conviction quashed for the second time. The 54-year-old is told he will face a further retrial over the killing of his former partner. Judges decide it was in the public interest to order a second retrial on the murder charge.

May 2017: Second retrial is aborted because of "technical difficulties" involving medical evidence in the case.

September 12, 2017: The second retrial gets under way at the Crown Court, with the trial is expected to take up to six weeks.

September 19, 2017: McClenaghan asks to be re-arraigned and subsequently pleads guilty to murder.

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