Northern Ireland

Marion Millican: Fred McClenaghan described as 'violent madman'

Marion Millican
Image caption Marion Millican was shot dead in March 2011

A man who claims he accidentally killed his ex-girlfriend was described as a "violent madman" on the day of the shooting in 2011, a court has heard.

Marion Millican, 51, was shot in the chest while working at a laundrette in Portstewart, County Londonderry.

Fred McClenaghan, 52, from Broad Street, Magherafelt, denies murder.

In a police interview, Mrs Millican's colleague Pamela Henry said Mr McClenaghan was a "madman that was meaning business".

'Winked'

Mr McClenaghan has admitted killing Mrs Millican but denies murder. He said he accidentally shot his former lover during a botched suicide attempt.

Mrs Henry said that, as she made a run for the door, she looked back to see "poor wee Marion, her face was so white... she knew, she knew".

She said she would "never forget" the look on her friend's face.

"I just wanted out... I felt so sorry leaving her, but there was nothing I could do... I couldn't attempt to bring her with me," Mrs Henry said on tape, adding that Mrs Millican was "afraid, scared, I saw it in on her face".

However, she also said Mrs Millican had winked and nodded to her and agreed with police that it appeared as if her friend was telling her to get out.

Mrs Henry said their ordeal began when the pair of them heard someone at the door and Mrs Millican got up to see, and whispered back 'you're not going to believe who it is'. Mrs Henry added: "Before I knew it he was on top of the two of us".

She said Mr McClenaghan, who was armed with a shotgun, grabbed Mrs Millican by the arm and said "You're coming with me, we have to talk".

Confusion

Mrs Henry said Mr McClenaghan was "in a violent mood, a madman, a man who was meaning business".

She said Mrs Millican was "trying to calm him down, but he wasn't having any of it".

She also said that at first when she saw the shotgun slung under his arm, she thought it was "for a joke", but then Mr McClenaghan fired a shot, blasting a hole in the kitchen floor between the two women.

Mrs Henry said at this point she had to get out and "flew to the toilet" and bolted the door, only for Mr McClenaghan to smash it open. He tried to snatch her mobile phone from her, she said.

He failed and in the confusion she managed to escape and run to a nearby shop where she stopped a couple who raised the alarm.

Mrs Henry also told police that the previous December, Mrs Millican had come into work one Monday morning with bruising to her neck.

'Traumatised'

She claimed that a tearful Marion had told her that Mr McClenaghan, was "an awful man for drink", and had "tried to strangle her".

While Mrs Henry said she never saw any other marks on her friend, following her break-up with Mr McClenaghan, he would often leave messages on their work phone and that Mrs Millican ignored them.

She also ignored a letter he had posted through her letterbox. The letter, which remained unopened, said Mrs Henry, was put in a wicker basket in Marion's kitchen.

Under cross examination by defence counsel, Mrs Henry said she had been left traumatised and shocked by what had been a terrifying event.

She also agreed that she had repeatedly described Mr McClenaghan as being, 'mad, mad, mad' and that she had never seen him looking like this before.

Mrs Henry said when he came in "he was really aggressive, meaning business, and knowing what he was going to do", and that throughout her ordeal she was "in fear" of her life and "was terrified" she would be killed.

However, she also agreed that while she had told police that it had lasted for about 20 minutes, in reality, the whole episode lasted only about three minutes, and she had been wrong in her estimation, given her "confusion and shock".

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