Northern Ireland

Marion Millican killing: Fred McClenaghan arrest recalled

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

The trial of a County Londonderry man accused of murdering his ex-partner has heard details of the moment he was arrested for the fatal shooting.

Fred McClenaghan, 52, of Broad Street, Magherafelt, denies murdering mother-of-four Marion Millican.

Ms Millican, 51, was shot at the laundrette in Portstewart where she worked in March 2011.

His guilty plea to manslaughter was rejected earlier this week by the prosecution.

On Thursday, two police officers told the jury of how they had been sent to search for Mr McClenaghan's car following the shooting.

"We then received a message over the police radio that the car had been traced to a fold in Kilrea and we went there,'' a constable said.

The officer said that when they arrived the car was in the carpark and he was met by the manager of the fold.

"I asked her where Freddie was and she said he was in the kitchen. I asked her if he was armed and she said he had no gun.

The officer said he cautioned Mr McClenaghan and arrested him on suspicion of murder. After caution, the officer asked him if he wanted to say anything and he replied: "No.''

'It should be me lying there'

A detective constable also told the jury that when Mr McClenaghan was taken out of the fold: "He was put in the police vehicle and I got in and sat beside him in the back seat. He said to me: 'It should be me lying there'.

"I asked him where the firearm was and he said it was somewhere between Ballymoney and Ballybogey. He said that if we drove him there he might recall where it was. He said he had thrown it into a ditch or a hedge.''

The detective said that after Mr McClenaghan's hands were put in cable ties and he was dressed in a forensic suit, he replied: "There is no need for this. I am saying it was me.''

The detective said he and his colleague then left to search for the gun and as they were driving between Ballymoney and Ballybogey, Mr McClenaghan identified the laneway where he dumped the long-barrelled shotgun.

He said they drove up the laneway and found the gun in bushes.

Anti-depressant medication

The jury also heard evidence from a forensic practitioner who said he examined Mr McClenaghan on behalf of the PSNI at the serious crime suite in Antrim following his arrest.

The doctor said that during the first examination at 20:45 GMT, Mr McClenaghan told him he had been suffering from depression for the past nine months and was on anti-depressant medication.

However, he told the doctor that he had not taken his medication for a number of days.

The jury heard that two weeks before the shooting, the defendant went to see a community psychiatric nurse and had also seen a counsellor about being sexually abused as a child.

"He said that he still had thoughts of self-harm and on that day (of the killing) he was going to shoot himself,'' the doctor told the jury.

He added that Mr McClenaghan told him he had gone to see his former girlfriend Marion Millican with an illegal gun and that "during a struggle she grabbed the gun and he shot her accidentally''.

The doctor told the court: "I examined him and noted he was very irritated. He was shouting at times and was angry at the fact as to why no-one would do anything about the fact that he had thoughts of self-harming.''

The doctor added that at 13:30 GMT when he examined Mr McClenaghan again, he noticed he was "calm and not irritated''.