Northern Ireland

Marion Millican killing: Fred McClenaghan 'killed deliberately'

Marion Millican
Image caption Fred McClenaghan has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Marion Millican

A man accused of the murder of his former girlfriend shot her out of "anger, jealousy and resentment'', the prosecution has said.

Fred McClenaghan, 52, of Broad Street, Magherafelt, County Londonderry, denies murdering Marion Millican at the laundrette where she worked.

He claims she was shot by accident.

The prosecution said the defendant had deliberately killed Mrs Millican after she had ended their relationship.

'Deliberate act'

In a closing submission the prosecution barrister told the jury that the defendant Mrs Millican had ended the relationship when Mr McClenaghan tried to strangle her following a night out.

He said this was one of three incidents of domestic violence by the defendant during the year-long relationship

In another incident, the jury was told that Mr McClenaghan had punched her on the side of the head knocking her unconscious.

Turning to the day of the shooting, the prosecutor told the jury: "This was not an accident. It was a deliberate act on his part.

"He did go there to punish her as he felt she had abandoned him. He was angry, jealous and he resented her.

"He went to the launderette, equipped himself with a shotgun with the purpose of killing Marion Millican.''

'Red herring'

Antrim Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, heard the defence case was that Mr McClenaghan was suffering from a "severe depressive order'' at the time Mrs Millican was killed in the laundrette in Portstewart.

However, the jury was told that a psychiatrist called by the prosecution had dismissed this assertion, saying Mr McClenaghan was suffering from a "moderate depressive disorder''.

The prosecutor added that it was the defence case that the 100-year-old 12-bore double-barrelled shotgun had gone off accidentally during a struggle when Mrs Millican had grabbed the gun.

"It was only in April this year that the defendant told someone that the gun was faulty. It took him over three years to say it was faulty. We say this is a red herring," he said.

"We now know that the gun is faulty, but that's after the defence expert broke the gun. It was working fine when it was examined by the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory after the murder.''

He added that there were many unanswered questions in the defence case in the events before, during and after the murder.

"The only person who can give those answers is sitting there [in the dock]. He will not walk the short distance from there to there [the witness box],'' he said.

'Completely different evidence'

Concluding the prosecution case, he said: "We say he deliberately shot her. He should take full responsibility for what he did.

"We say he should be saddled with the full responsibility for his actions and in the circumstances we say he should be found guilty of murder.''

In his closing submission, the defence barrister said the evidence of two expert prosecution witnesses from the Forensic Service of Northern Ireland was "unreliable''.

He said that the sworn evidence the experts had given during the trial was "completely different'' from that of the testimony they had given at a previous trial.

He added that the experts had not followed their own procedures or internationally recognised protocols on the testing of the antique shotgun to prove whether the gun could have been accidentally discharged.

He said their evidence was a "disgrace to the system it is supposed to contribute to''.

"They gave conflicting accounts. They were contradictory and unreliable accounts,'' he said.

He said that at the time, Mr McClenaghan was suffering from a "severe depressive disorder'' and had been seen by 13 professionals about his "anxieties, problems, difficulties and suicidal ideations''.

"At the time he had thoughts of harming her. He was seeking help. He was coming to them for help. He was not the classic murderer," the defence lawyer told the jury.

"He was in a deep, dark place that was scaring him as he was a danger to himself and to other people.''

He told the jury that if they found that Mr McClenaghan was suffering from diminished responsibility, "you should not convict him of murder but convict him of manslaughter''.