Mother knew she was facing death, court hears

MUM of four Marion Millican blasted in the chest with a shotgun, knew she was facing death at the hands of her former lover Fred McClenaghan, a court heard.

The claim was made by a workmate of 51-year-old Marion during a taped police interview played at McClenaghan’s Antrim Crown Court trial where he denies murdering her in the Portstewart launderette where she had worked for over a decade.

In the hours following the shooting on March 11 last year, Mrs Pamela Henry told how she made a terrified dash for freedom leaving her ashen faced friend in the clutches of 49-year-old McClenaghan who claims he accidently shot his former lover during a botched suicide attempt.

Mrs Henry said that as she made a run for the door she looked back to see “poor wee Marion her face was so white .... she knew, she knew”.

She also claimed Marion had winked and nodded to her and agreed with police that it appeared as if Marion was telling her to get out of launderette. Either way she said she would “never forget” the look on her friend’s face.

“I just wanted out ... I felt so sorry leaving her, but there was nothing I could do ... I couldnt attempt to bring her with me,” Mrs Henry explained on tape, adding that Marion was “afraid, scared, I saw it in on her face”.

In the 46 minute taped interview in Coleraine PSNI station, Pamela told how a shotgun armed McClenaghan, whom she described as violent loud mad man, out for business, had come into the launderette and was on the two friends before they knew it.

Mrs Henry claimed McClenaghan, was “in a violent mood. ... A mad man. ...A man who was meaning business,” who grabbed Marion by the arm, “shouting and roaring” that she leave with him for a talk.

McClenaghan, the court heard, accused his former lover of having ignored him and all that he wanted was for her to talk to him.

Marion refused to go with him, pleading that her boss would soon return and that it was best if they just talked in the shop.

Mrs Henry further claimed that her friend was also “trying to calm him down, but he wasn’t having any of it, he just wasn’t having it”.

Then suddenly McClenaghan aimed a shot into the ground, blasting a hole between where the two women were standing.

Mrs Henry said at this point she had to get out and “flew to the toilet” and bolted the door, which McClenaghan then busted open and tried to take her mobile phone from her.

The court heard that he failed, and she managed to escape and run to a nearby shop where she stopped a couple who raised the alarm after she told about what was happening

Mrs Henry also told police that the previous December Marion had come into work one Monday morning with bruising to her neck.

She claimed that a teraful Marion had told her that McClenaghan, “an awful man for drink”, had an arguement in a bar, and had then followed her to his Broad Street, home in Magherafelt, where they were living at the time.

In the house the argument continued and that McClenaghan had “tried to strangle her”.

While Mrs Henry said she never saw any other marks on her friend, following her break-up with McClenaghan, he would often leave meassages on their works’ phone which Marion ignored.

She also ignored a letter he had posted through her postbox. The letter, which remained unopened, said Mrs Henry, was put in a wicker basket in Marion’s kitchen.

Later under cross exmaination by defence QC John McCrudden, Mrs Henry denied telling a psychiatrist that police had to rescue her from the launderette toilets after McClenaghan had blasted Marion in the leg with his shotgun.

Mrs Henry, who told the court she’d been referred to the specialist because of recurring nightmare she still suffers, dismissed as “rubbish” suggestions she had said McClenaghan had been aiming at her when he shot Marion and her leg started bleeding.

She refuted further suggestions from Mr McCrudden that she’d told a doctor in January that she’d managed to raise the alarm by phoning for police whilst trapped in the toilets.

“Where did that come from,” Mrs Henry asked, often adding: “Its a load of rubbish ....I never said that, its a load of rubbish .... That there’s nonsense ...That there is, I dont know where that came from, I’m sorry”.

Mrs Henry told the court that: “What I said, is what I have already said”.

When later asked by prosecuting QC Richard Weir if she had told the doctor, “any of this stuff he has written down”, Mrs Henry simply replied: “No”.