A jury in the murder trial of Polish national Henryk Gorski will begin a second day of deliberation today.
After four weeks of evidence from more than 100 witnesses, the jury of nine was sent out of Antrim Crown Court yesterday to consider the verdict.
The five women and four men spent four-and-a-half hours discussing the case throughout the afternoon but could not reach a unanimous decision.
Gorski (52) is accused of battering and strangling 24-year-old Shirley Finlay then dumping her naked body in a duvet cover, bound in black bin bags at the Hill Street car park of Ballymena Baptist Church three years ago.
She was killed two days before her 25th birthday in September 2006.
Gorski, a former Ballymena Meats butcher, who had lived in a flat on Hill Street at the time, denies the murder.
In the dock yesterday flanked by two prison guards, a bespectacled Gorski was dressed in a dark jacket and light blue open-necked shirt. He listened intently to proceedings, trans
lated through an interpreter, as the trial judge gave a detailed review of the evidence and outlined points of law for the jury.
Mr Justice Hart told the court the prosecution case said there was “inescapable evidence” linking Gorski to the killing — including three separate sets of fingerprints found on the bin bags which had been wrapped round the duvet cover containing Shirley’s dead body.
He said the Crown also alleged that hundreds of paint fragments found on the duvet cover were “indistinguishable” from those found inside Gorski’s flat and that a bleached blonde hair found on a mat in his Hill Street home belonged to either Shirley or one of her maternal relatives.
The jury heard how an expert witness had claimed DNA samples taken from a cuff and pocket of a jacket found 10ft away from Shirley’s body matched DNA of the defendant’s ex- girlfriend, Gabriella Cabernak — with whom he had shared a flat.
“If the defendant had nothing to do with Shirley Finlay and had never met her is it not a remarkable coincidence that a coat obviously worn by a woman who was linked to the defendant was found 10ft from her body?” said Judge Hart.
Meanwhile, giving evidence on his own behalf, Henryk Gorski has claimed he had been the victim of a conspiracy. He claimed his former lover Cabernak or one of her associates had “framed him” and that police had wrongly listed about 50% of his interview answers.
“Is this a desperate attempt to explain away the prosecution case?” asked the judge.
Among those in the public gallery were two foster families, including Mary Corry who had looked after Shirley during her early years.