| 5°C Belfast

Laundrette killing 'an accident': murder accused intended to shoot himself in front of victim, court told

A man accused of shooting dead a laundrette assistant at her work intended to kill himself in front of her, the High Court heard.

Fred McClenaghan claimed that Marion Millican's death in Portstewart, Co Londonderry, had been accidental, prosecutors have revealed.

McClenaghan (48), of Broad Street, Magherafelt, faces a charge of murder over the shooting in March.

Ms Millican, a 51-year-old mother-of-four, was gunned down as she ate lunch at the laundrette where she worked. The court was told she had been in a relationship with her alleged killer which ended months earlier.

Following McClenaghan's arrest, a shotgun was recovered from an area between Portrush and Ballymoney.

Crown counsel Philip Henry said the accused was interviewed 14 times without speaking.

However, at one stage he provided a statement saying: "It was my intention to kill myself on Friday, March 11, and that Marion would witness my suicide."

It added: "I did not intend to kill Marion. Marion's death was an accident and I am truly sorry."

Details emerged as McClenaghan sought compassionate bail to attend his grandmother's funeral. Opposing his application, Mr Henry claimed he was capable of "extreme volatility".

Referring to the shooting, the barrister claimed it was pre-meditated rather than a spur-of-the-moment incident.

A defence barrister attempted to overcome concerns about McClenaghan's state of mind by saying he had neglected prescribed medication at the time of the incident. The court was told he has now taking it in custody.

Mr Justice Hart accepted the relationship between the accused and his grandmother was close enough to qualify for compassionate release.

But refusing bail, he said: "I have to have regard to the circumstances surrounding the offence itself, because they clearly demonstrate a degree of pre-medication that is deeply disturbing."

Belfast Telegraph