Belfast Telegraph

Marion Millican murder: Never getting to say goodbye will haunt me forever, says daughter

Fred McClenaghan handed minimum 13 year sentence for shooting

By Claire Williamson

A woman whose mother was murdered in broad daylight at a Portstewart laundrette has said 'knowing we couldn’t stop this from happening" and "never getting to say our goodbyes" will haunt her forever.

Marion Millican died in March 2011 after she was shot in the chest with a double-barelled shotgun brandished by her former partner Fred McClenaghan.

On Monday Mr Justice Colton told 55-year old McClenaghan, from Broad Street in Magherafelt, that he will serve a minimum of 13 years in prison before he is considered eligible for release.

The PSNI said that McClenaghan has also consigned Marion's family to a life sentence.

Marion’s daughter Suzanne Davis said "no words" can describe how much she misses her mum and never getting to say goodbye will "haunt me forever".

In her victim impact statement she 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, wedding, 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 began 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 11th March 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.”

Marion's husband Ken said she was the "love of his life".

He 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 the 28th November 1976 we never looked back.

“I will never forget the day, Friday 11th March, 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 2 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.”

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy welcomed the sentence and said the community is a "safer place" that a "very callous and dangerous man" is behind bars.

He said: "Frederick McClenaghan inflicted further pain and suffering on the Millican family by subjecting them to a total of three trials after successfully appealing his unanimous murder conviction on two occasions. During the third trial in September this year - and after more than six years - he finally admitted his guilt.

“However, he has never given the Millican family the courtesy of an explanation as to why he killed Marion.

"Throughout 14 police interviews he maintained his right to silence and while this was his right, I believe he had a moral responsibility to explain his actions to Marion’s family.”

When the senior officer was asked if he knew why McClenaghan changed his plea he said: ""No we don't. What's in Fred McClenaghan's mind is a matter for Fred McClenaghan."

Superintendent Murphy added: “This is an extremely sad case, and first and foremost today our sympathies go to Marion’s children, husband, grandchildren, wider family circle and her friends, who continue to come to terms with her death. Frederick McClenaghan has rightfully been sentenced to life in prison, however Marion’s family have themselves been consigned to a life-long sentence as a result of his callous and cold blooded act.

“Detectives and prosecutors worked tirelessly to get justice for Marion’s murder and today brings closure for the police service and the Public Prosecution Service. But the family will never get closure. The guilty plea and today’s sentencing is the very least that they deserve."

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