Antique shotgun used in killing was never registered, court hears

The antique shotgun used to kill mother-of-four Marion Millican was never registered with the police, a court has heard.

Mrs Millican (51) died almost instantly after she was blasted in the chest with the weapon on March 11 last year, in the Portstewart laundrette where she worked.

Her former lover, Fred McClenaghan from Broad Street in Magherafelt, is on trial for her murder, which he denies.

Antrim Crown Court heard on Tuesday that neither he, nor anyone else had been licensed to legally hold the weapon.

A senior licensing officer with the PSNI said that when the shotgun was recovered following the shooting, she was asked to search the police firearms’ data base for any details on the weapon.

Trial Judge Corinne Philpott QC and the jury of nine men and three women has already learned that the double-barrelled side-by-side shotgun - fired after the cocking of two hammers and pulling on separate triggers - was made in Glasgow around the turn of the last century, either in the late 1800s or 1900s.

Despite its age the shotgun, which was proof-marked, was “never held on the data base in Northern Ireland”.

It also transpired that the weapon was neither registered or legally held on licence by anyone.

Later the court heard that throughout his 14 interviews with police carried out over two days, 49-year-old McClenaghan remained silent, except on one occasion during the eleventh interview after his solicitor, read out a prepared statement on his behalf.

Detectives were questioning him about the circumstances surrounding the shooting of his former lover, and had just put the findings of the post mortem to him, asking him to comment, when his solicitor Stephen Atherton produced the statement in which McClenaghan first made the case the shooting was a tragic accident.

In it McClenaghan claimed: “It was my intention to kill myself on March 11 and Marion would witness my suicide.

“I did not intend to kill Marion. I did not intend to harm Marion. Marion’s death was an accident. I am sorry”.

After the reading, McClenaghan was asked by Mr Atherton, if the statement was his, and he simply replied: “Yes”.

Defence lawyer Michael Duffy later asked the detective if he was aware that McClenaghan’s solicitor “had made representations” prior to his interviewing taking place, on the ground that McClenaghan had not been seen by a psychiatrist.

The detective, who confirmed he was aware of the situation, later revealed that initially McClenaghan was not only being interviewed about the shooting of Mrs Millican, but also in relation to the attempted murder of a second woman.

The trial continues.