Marion Millican with her daughter
A Magherafelt man has been handed a 13 year life sentence today at Belfast Crown Court for the murder of a Portstewart mother of four in 2011.
Frederick McClenaghan (56) of Broad Street in Magherafelt, pleaded guilty to murdering Marion Millican (58) in Portstewart Laundry in broad daylight on March 11.
Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, from PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch, said: “I welcome the lengthy sentence handed to Frederick McClenaghan today. He is a very callous and dangerous man and the community is a safer place now that he is behind bars.
“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.
Throughout 14 police interviews he maintained his right to silence and while this was his right, I believe he had a moral responsibility to explain his actions to Marion’s family.”
Superintendent Murphy added: “This is an extremely sad case, and first and foremost today our sympathies go to Marion’s children, husband, grandchildren, wider family circle and her friends, who continue to come to terms with her death. Frederick McClenaghan has rightfully been sentenced to life in prison, however Marion’s family have themselves been consigned to a life-long sentence as a result of his callous and cold blooded act.
“Detectives and prosecutors worked tirelessly to get justice for Marion’s murder and today brings closure for the police service and the Public Prosecution Service. But the family will never get closure. The guilty plea and today’s sentencing is the very least that they deserve.”
Marion’s 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 2 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.”
CCTV footage link showing Frederick McClenaghan leaving the laundrette after shooting Marion Millican https://youtu.be/IURc1nlZvLY