Northern Ireland

'PSNI at flat' on night of woman's murder

Shirley Finlay's body was found in a car park in 2006
Image caption Shirley Finlay's body was found in a car park in 2006

A man appealing his conviction for murdering a young woman intends to use evidence that police were in his home on the night of the murder, a court heard on Friday.

Shirley Finlay's body was found dumped at a car park in Ballymena, County Antrim, in September 2006.

Henryk Gorski, 53, was ordered to serve at least 20 years in jail after a jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict.

The trial judge described the killing as "a brutal murder".

He said the way the victim's body was disposed of had been "callous in the extreme".

Senior judges have listed the former factory worker's appeal against his conviction for murdering Ms Finlay, 24, for a two-day hearing early next year.

During his trial the court heard a series of hard facts linked Ms Finlay's death to Gorski's flat.

His fingerprints were said to be on bin bags used to tie her body inside a duvet cover connected to his home.

A grey jacket found beside the victim bore traces of DNA from Gorski's former lover.

And a strand of hair matching that of Ms Finlay's was also later recovered from a carpet in Gorski's Hill Street flat.

'Central plank'

Despite the forensic and circumstantial evidence, Gorski continued to maintain his innocence.

When told he faced life imprisonment he yelled in Polish: "I don't agree with it."

It has now emerged that his legal team are to seek to put forward evidence to say that police were in his flat on the night of the murder.

Gorski's barrister, Sean Devine, told the Court of Appeal on Friday: "This is a case where his home and articles from it formed a central plank of the case against him.

"We would say it is an important nugget of information which, had we had it at trial, we would have been keen to deploy."

The claim centres on a belief that an officer was in Gorski's home at around 2200 BST on the night in question.

Both sides agreed that an application to include the information could form part of the overall hearing.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan listed the appeal to be heard over two days starting on 31 January next year.

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