Fenland man accused of drowning his ex-partner in a bath is told by judge he must serve at least 12 years in prison

A MARCH man who boasted for years he had got away with murdering his ex-wife must serve at least 12 years before being considered for parole.

A Belfast High Court judge made the order as he sentenced William Mawhinney for drowning his partner 15 years ago.

Mawhinney, 51, of Highfield Road, showed no emotion was sentenced last Friday.

He has always denied murdering his 35 year-old wife, Lorraine Mills, at their Ballymena, County Antrim, home in May 1995.

Mawhinney has now lodged an appeal against his conviction.

His eldest daughter, Kelly Keely, said afterwards that her only hope “is that one day he will feel remorse for what he took away from us”.

Ms Keely was glad the case was over and that she “just wanted my mum to be proud of me. I wanted justice for her, she deserved it and that’s what kept me going”.

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Mawhinney was first arrested 1995 but released: four years later police went to his March home and re-arrested him.

In the intervening period his daughter told police she had watched her father kill her mother.

Although only six at the time, Ms Keeley said she saw her father attack and drown her mother in the bath.

Mawhinney’s second wife, Gwen Mawhinney, said he allegedly boasted to her in 2002 that “the police were stupid- I got away with.”

She said her husband claimed to have “committed the perfect murder” and that when he went into the bathroom he simply “pushed her under the water”. She married him in 1998 but is now divorced.

The trial that Ms Mills was so drunk, seven times over the drink driving limit, that Northern Ireland’s State Pathologist Prof. Jack Crane concluded that it was “quite conceivable she had lost consciousness whilst in the bath, resulting in accidental submergence and drowning”.

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