Latest: Murder accused McClenaghan will not take stand

Marion Millican who was killed at a laundrette in Portstewart.
Marion Millican who was killed at a laundrette in Portstewart.

The 52-year-old Co Londonderry man who claims he accidently shot his former lover Marion Millican, while intending to kill himself, will not be giving evidence in his own defence at his Antrim Crown Court trial.

Defence QC John McCrudden told trial judge Mr Justice Treacy on Tuesday afternoon, “it is not intended to call the accused to give evidence in this case”.

Mr McCrudden said that his client was aware that the jury of six men and five women may draw whatever inferences they feel proper at his refusal to go into the witnessbox, or to answer any questions.

McClenaghan from Broad Street, Magherafelt, admits the manslaughter of the 51-year-old mum of of four, but denies murdering her on March 11, 2011 in the Portstewart laundrette where she worked.

Mr McCrudden told the court that from Wednesday the defence proposed calling a number of witnesses whose evidence “is quite specialist in nature” and will include psychiatrists as well as psychologists.

He also said while the prosecution case has ended, the Crown also intended to call an expert witness as well.

Earlier, before the close of the prosecution, the court heard of McClenaghan’s confession to police to the unlawful killing. It came during the eleventh of 14 interviews, over three days during which he mostly remained silent, on the advice of his solicitor.

In a prepared statement, read into the record by solicitor Stephen Atherton, McClenaghan claimed he planned to commit suicide in front of Mrs Millican and that her shotgun shooting was an accident.

“It was my intention to kill myself on March 11 and Marion would witness my suicide,” said the statement, which continued:

“I did not intend to kill Marion. I did not intend to harm Marion. Marion’s death was an accident. I am sorry”.

However, the Antrim court, sitting in Belfast, heard that McClenaghan maintained his silence, and did not elaborate on the statement from his solicitor. He also remained silent when asked about remarks he made after the shooting.

In a comment to the sister of a former partner he allegedly admitted that he had “shot a girl in Portstewart”, and following his arrest, in an unsolicited remark to a police officer, said: “It should have been me lying there”.

The court also heard evidence today of the post mortem findings of Dr Peter Ingram, Assistant State Pathologist for Northern Ireland, who revealed that Ms Millican was “probably no more than a metre or so, and possibly as close, as about 30 to 40cms”, from the shotgun when hit once in the centre of her chest.

Dr Ingram said that the shotgun discharge had caused extensive lacerations to the base of her heart and had torn the diaphram, while the gullet and aorta - the principle arterty of the body - were “completely transsected”.

The blast had also cut through Ms Millican’s liver, spleen, right kidney and the lower lobe of the left lung before fracturing four of her left ribs, from behind which “the wad and bulk of pellets were recovered.”

Dr Ingram revealed that the effect of the shotgun blast, which travelled in a near horizontal direction from her front to her back would have caused Ms Millican’s “rapid death.”

At hearing.