Laundrette shotgun killer Fred McClenaghan finally admits Marion Millican murder
In a dramatic turn of events this afternoon, Co Londonderry man Fred McClenaghan finally admitted his guilt and was jailed for life for the shotgun murder of his former lover 51-year-old Marion Millican.
It was the culmination of the latest of three murder trials, after the mother-of-four was blasted in the chest at point blank range by McClenaghan who had gone to the Portstewart laundrette where she had worked on March 11, 2011.
Today his Belfast Crown Court trial was to hear further evidence regarding the circumstances following the shooting, but this did not happen.
Then after lunch, in the dramatic turn, defence QC John McCrudden applied to trial judge Mr Justice Coulton for the murder charge to be put to McClenaghan again.
Mr McCrudden in thanking the judge and jury of seven women and three men said that in a case of “great complexity” matters had to be dealt with and “as a result of the time afforded to us I have been instructed by my client to have him re-arraigned on the charge of murder”.
McClenaghan, who until today claimed that the killing of Mrs Millican was an accident committed as he botched his own suicide, replied “guilty” in a quiet voice when the murder charge was read to him again.
Mr Justice Coulton then told the 55-year-old from Broad Street in Magherafelt, “You have pleaded guilty to the offence of murder and that being so the only sentence I can impose on you by law is life imprisonment.”
The judge added that next month he will hold a tariff hearing to determine how long the county Londonderry man must serve before he is considered for release by the Parole Commissioners.
In the past McClenaghan, who has only ever admitted the manslaughter of Marion Millican, was twice convicted and jailed for life with a tariff of 16 years being fixed, both of which were subsequently overturned on appeal – something which until today could not be reported.