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Shotgun murderer McClenaghan received appropriate care before death, coroner rules

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Fred McClenaghan. Photo: Pacemaker Press.

Fred McClenaghan. Photo: Pacemaker Press.

Fred McClenaghan. Photo: Pacemaker Press.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service acted appropriately when dealing with the illness that led to murderer Fred McClenaghan’s death, an inquest has concluded.

A Belfast Coroner’s Court hearing into the 57-year-old’s death ended yesterday. It was held without a jury because of Covid restrictions.

McClenaghan, from Magherafelt, was sentenced to 13 years in jail for the murder of his former partner Marion Millican (51) in March 2011.

He was initially held at Maghaberry Prison before being transferred to Magilligan on September 28, 2017.

A post-mortem examination found that his death was caused by a brain aneurysm.

McClenaghan blasted mother-of-four Ms Millican with a shotgun at point-bank range in a Portstewart launderette.

He initially denied killing her, claiming her death was the result of an attempt to take his own life, only to later admit murder.

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The inquest into his death previously heard from his sister Eleanor McKee, who described him as coming from a “very loving and Christian family.

She also told the hearing she had expressed concerns about her brother’s “grey colour” to prison staff.

She and other family members asked him to speak to someone about what he said was a recurring headache.

He replied: “They [prison authorities] only ever give you paracetamol.”

The inquest also heard statements from forensic pathologist Dr Alistair Bentley, consultant neuropathologist Dr Brian Herron, consultant neurosurgeon Dr Ashraf Abouharb, McClenaghan’s fellow inmates, prison staff and a jail nurse who treated him after he fell ill.

The hearing was shown CCTV footage of McClenaghan collapsing twice within a 45-minute period.

In the first instance, he falls to the floor in the prison’s Alpha wing, which houses medically at-risk inmates. He is then moved to a cell and attended to by a nurse.

In the second, he falls in a wash room and, after examination by the same nurse, is taken to Causeway Hospital by ambulance.

McClenaghan was subsequently transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, where he died five days later.

After going over the evidence provided to the inquest, Coroner Maria Dougan said the deceased had failed to raise his recurring headache with staff and ruled that he had received appropriate care and treatment.

She also found that McClenaghan did not present any neurological problems during his first collapse and therefore did not require an immediate transfer to hospital.

“Even with an earlier attendance [at] hospital after his first collapse, the outcome for the deceased would not have been different,” she said.

“I find that the Northern Ireland Prison Service acted appropriately in relation to the deceased.

“A post-mortem was performed. It records, and I find, that death was due to subarachnoid haemorrhage and intracerebral haemorrhage due to a ruptured berry aneurysm of the interior communicating artery.”

A solicitor for the South Eastern Trust passed the trust’s condolences to the McClenaghan family.


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