Northern Ireland

Marion Millican's daughter says murder shattered family

Family members including Mrs Millican's daughter Suzanne (left) pictured leaving court after sentencing Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Family members including Mrs Millican's daughter Suzanne (left) pictured leaving court after sentencing

The murder of Marion Millican by her former boyfriend has shattered the lives of her family, her daughter has said.

Mrs Millican, a mother-of-four, was shot dead at the laundrette where she worked in Portstewart, County Londonderry, in March 2011.

Fred McClenaghan, 52, of Broad Street in Magherafelt, was found guilty on Wednesday of murdering her with an antique shotgun.

Mrs Millican's daughter Suzanne said her mother was "the glue that kept everyone together".

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Media captionPamela Henry, who was in the laundrette at the time, said she thought she was also going to be shot

On top of their grief, the family found themselves dealing with what they felt was a complex and at times indecipherable legal system.

First, their mother's killer was convicted of murder but handed what the family felt was a lenient sentence.

That conviction was then quashed on a legal technicality and a retrial ordered.

At this retrial, McClenaghan pleaded guilty to manslaughter but this was rejected and the prosecution pursued the charge of murder.

However, that retrial was halted when the jury was dismissed because some jurors had left the precinct of the court to get chips for lunch.

A new jury was sworn in and the retrial started again.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Marion Millican was shot dead in the laundrette where she worked
Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Fred McClenaghan had claimed he had intended to take his own life when the gun went off

During all the proceedings and despite the lengthy delays, Mrs Millican's family sat through the harrowing evidence again and again, determined to see justice done.

Mrs Millican had begun a relationship with McClenaghan after splitting from her husband in September 2009.

However, she ended the new relationship in December 2010, and was in the process of a reconciliation with her husband, Ken, just months before she was shot dead.

'Madman'

Ken Millican was in court with Suzanne on Wednesday to hear the judge deliver a guilty verdict.

Mrs Millican's friend and colleague, Pamela Henry, who was at the laundrette when McClenaghan arrived, described him as "a madman who meant business".

She told the BBC: "He walked in that door with a gun under his arm with the intention of shooting Marion, and that's what he did.

"I just thought that both of us were going to get it - I was glad to get out alive."

Image caption Mrs Millican was having lunch at work when she was shot dead

Timeline of events

11 March 2011: Mrs Millican is shot dead in the Portstewart laundrette where she worked.

3 July 2012: McClenaghan found guilty at Antrim Crown Court of murdering Mrs Millican.

21 September 2012: McClenaghan is sentenced to 16 years in jail. The victim's daughter, Suzanne Davis, describes the sentence as "very lenient, especially for such a violent crime".

29 January 2014: McClenaghan's conviction for murder is quashed. The accused is told he faces a retrial.

16 September 2014: Retrial gets under way as jury is sworn in. Prosecution rejects McClenaghan's guilty plea to manslaughter and pursues the charge of murder.

29 September 2014: Judge Mr Justice Treacy dismisses jury in the retrial because some jurors left the precinct of the court to get chips for lunch. A new jury is sworn in and the retrial begins again.

5 November 2014: Jury finds McClenaghan guilty of murder

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