Sunday 18 August 2019

'She died terrified and very alone' - Man jailed for shotgun murder of former lover at her workplace

Derry man is given 13 year life sentence for murdering mother of four in Portstewart laundrette

Marion and her daughter Suzanne
Marion and her daughter Suzanne Newsdesk Newsdesk

A man has been jailed for 13 years for the murder of his former partner in a laundrette in broad daylight.

Frederick McClenaghan (56) of Broad Street in Magherafelt, Derry pleaded guilty to murdering Marion Millican (58) in Portstewart Laundry in broad daylight on March 11, 2011

McClenaghan pleaded guilty to murdering the mother-of-four in September - before that he had only ever admitted manslaughter.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, from PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch, said: "He walked into the laundrette where Marion worked and murdered her in cold blood while she was on her lunch break. Before killing his ex-girlfriend he terrorised her and a colleague by threatening them with his shotgun. When Marion refused to go outside and speak to him he fired a shot into the floor to intimidate her.

“Marion’s terrified colleague managed to escape the laundrette but sadly Marion died at the scene from gunshot wounds to her chest.

“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."

After separating from her husband, Mrs Millican started a relationship with McClenaghan at the beginning of 2010 -  but by the end of the year she had ended things as he had been violent to her on at least two occasions.

Around the end of 2010 she and her husband were working on a reconciliation.

Just three months later, on the afternoon of Friday March 11th, 2011, McClenaghan entered his former girlfriend's workplace on Portstewart's Promenade.

Minutes later, Mrs Millican's body was found lying face down in a pool of blood. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her husband 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 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 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.”

Marion’s daughter Suzanne Davis added: “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.”

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