Magherafelt shotgun killer awaits jail sentence

Fred McClenaghan did not give evidence during the trial
Fred McClenaghan did not give evidence during the trial

Convicted shotgun killer Fred McClenaghan from Magherafelt will be told next week how long he will have to serve in jail for murdering his former partner.

Trial judge Mr Justice Treacy told Belfast Crown Court this week that he will deliver his tariff ruling next Tuesday, December 16.

McClenaghan, 52 of Broad Street, is already serving life in prison after a jury found him guilty by a unanimous verdict of murdering Marion Millican at the Portstewart launderette where she worked in March 2011.

It was the second time McClenaghan had been convicted of murdering Mrs Millican.

Prosecution barrister Neil Connor told Mr Justice Treacy that a probation report had found that McClenaghan “posed a significant risk of serious harm to the public’’.

He said that the jury had rejected McClenaghan’s claim that he had shot Mrs Millican by accident during a struggle in the launderette.

“This murder was motivated by anger, resentment and jealousy,” Mr Connor told Belfast Crown Court.

“This was not a quarrel. This was not an argument. This was an attack. It was a cold and calculated murder.”

He added that it was clear that the murder was pre-planned as McClenaghan had acquired a 100-year-old antique double barrelled shotgun and had secreted it away in a friend’s shed and then drove from Magherafelt to Portstewart on the morning of the murder to shoot Mrs Millican at her place of work.

Defence counsel John McCrudden QC said that McClenaghan had asked him to express his remorse to the family of Marion Millican as “he knows he bares the full responsibility for her death’’.

“There is nothing that can be said that can bring her back.”

He added that McClenaghan maintained that the gun went off accidentally during a struggle following a ‘quarrel’ in the launderette.

Mr McCrudden said at the time of the murder, McClenaghan had been suffering from a “severe’’ mental health disorder brought on by nightmares of sexual abuse as a child at the hands of a family friend who was a police officer.

The defence QC added that if there had been a co-ordinated effort between the PSNI and the health agencies “we would not be talking about a murder and Mrs Millican would be alive today”.