Marion Millican family's ordeal finally over after three trials as killer jailed for 13 years
The family of a woman murdered by her former lover have said they are glad their ordeal "is finally over" after her killer was told he will spend at least 13 years in prison.
Mother-of-four Marion Millican (51) was blasted in the chest with a double-barrelled shotgun at point blank range by Fred McClenaghan in the Portstewart laundrette where she worked in March 2011. McClenaghan (56), of Broad Street in Magherafelt, finally admitted his guilt on September 19 following three murder trials.
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At Belfast Crown Court yesterday, Mr Justice Colton told McClenaghan he will serve a minimum of 13 years in prison before he can apply for parole.
It has also emerged the total cost to the public purse for the lengthy legal process currently stands at £581,826 - but that figure is set to rise.
McClenaghan received £430,340 in legal aid for two trials and two appeals, the BBC reported. The Legal Services Agency says the legal aid bill for his third trial is not yet available.
The cost to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) is £151,486, although the third trial costs are again not yet available.
Yesterday the court heard Mrs Millican had been in a relationship with McClenaghan after breaking up with her husband Ken in 2009. She separated with McClenaghan in December 2010 and she had been in the process of reconciling with her husband when she was murdered.
The court heard McClenaghan entered his former girlfriend's workplace on Portstewart's Promenade on March 11, 2011, while she and her work colleague Pamela Henry were eating lunch. He then shot Mrs Millican in the chest with a shotgun. The court heard Mr Millican cradled his wife's lifeless body in his arms after discovering her on the floor of the laundrette.
Speaking after the sentencing, a family member said they were "glad it is all over", adding they were satisfied with the sentence handed down.
In victim impact statements, Ken Millican said: "We were married for 34 years, I met Marion when she was 15 years old and I was 17 and fell in love very young. I can honestly say she was the love of my life, we got married when Marion was 17 and pregnant with our first son, Aaron, and from that day on, November 28, 1976, we never looked back.
"I will never forget the day, Friday, March 11, when I found Marion lying on the floor of the laundrette. It will stay with me forever and to this day it gives me many sleepless nights, reliving the whole ordeal. Not only that, my health has been affected, I suffered a massive heart attack two weeks before the last sentencing and I also have depression. There will never be enough words that can fill a page or describe this horrendous ordeal."
Mr Millican's daughter, Suzanne Davis, said: "No words can describe how much I miss my mum, the simplest things from everyday life like picking up the phone to text or chat about something trivial. Walking into our family home and her not being there. Every milestone is a hurdle to cross, like birthdays, weddings, Christmas, especially as it was her favourite time for family and friends.
"I can't understand why people say time is a great healer, my family haven't even begun to think about healing, it's a constant battle of emotions - anger and grief are hard to lock away when you're constantly worrying about court appearances, court appeals and retrials.
"Nothing will diminish those awful memories I have of Friday March 11, 2011; it will never leave me or my entire family. We have to live with the fact that my mum was brutally murdered at the hands of Fred McClenaghan in her place of work, where she should have been safe.
"She died terrified and very alone; knowing we couldn't stop this from happening and never getting to say our goodbyes will haunt me forever."
McClenaghan was previously twice convicted and jailed for life with a tariff of 16 years being fixed, both of which were subsequently overturned on appeal.
McClenaghan had claimed he accidentally shot Mrs Millican while intending to kill himself in front of her. He later changed his plea.
Mr Justice Colton, referring to the victim impact statements, said: "Each of these statements in their own individual and eloquent way demonstrate the profound personal grief of each of the authors. They brought home to me the impact the tragic death of Mrs Millican has had on her next of kin and friends. This has been particularly acute for her husband and children."
He added: "I recognise the loss of Mrs Millican's life can not be measured by the level of prison sentence.
"There is no term of imprisonment that I can impose that will reconcile Mrs Millican's family and friends to their loss, nor will it cure their anguish."