Northern Ireland

Judgement reserved in appeal over Shirley Finlay murder

Henryk Gorski
Image caption Henryk Gorski was linked to the murder by DNA evidence

Judgement has been reserved in an appeal by a man convicted of battering and strangling a vulnerable young woman in County Antrim.

Henryk Gorski, 54, was sentenced to at least 20 years in jail for the murder of Shirley Finlay.

The 24-year-old victim's partially clothed body was found dumped at a car park in Ballymena in September 2006.

Gorksi was given a life sentence after a jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict in 2009.

A judge described the killing as "a brutal murder" and said the way Ms Finlay's body was disposed of had been "callous in the extreme".

During the trial, the court heard a series of hard facts linked her 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 the Polish national's home.

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

Forensic evidence

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

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

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."

His lawyers argued during the appeal that the jury could have been prejudiced by other claims that he may have tried to lure teenage girls into his home.

It was claimed that proper directions were not given on character evidence which formed part of the case against him.

His legal team also sought to advance the possibility that forensic evidence may have been contaminated.

They pointed to the presence of a policeman at both the scene where the victim's body was discovered and Gorski's home on the same night.

However, Crown counsel argued that the sequence of events meant contamination was impossible.

Judges were told that Ms Finlay's body had been wrapped and "hermetically sealed".

Following a hearing on Wednesday on transcript evidence, the Court of Appeal deferred its verdict.

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