Belfast Telegraph

Shirley Finlay killer ‘will use police as alibi in appeal’

A Polish man trying to overturn a conviction for battering and strangling a vulnerable young woman will attempt to use evidence that police were in his home on the night of the murder, a court was told.

Senior judges have also listed Henryk Gorski's appeal against being found guilty of murdering Shirley Finlay (24) for a two-day hearing early next year.

Ms Finlay's partially-clothed body was found dumped at a car park in Ballymena in September 2006.

Gorski, a 53-year-old meat factory worker, was ordered to serve at least 20 years in jail after a jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict last year.

The trial judge described the killing as “a brutal murder” and said the way the victim's body was disposed of had been “callous in the extreme”.

His trial heard a series of hard facts linked Shirley’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.

Also, 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 on the floor of Gorski's Hill Street flat.

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

It has now emerged that his legal team are to seek to adduce 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 yesterday: “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.”

A Crown lawyer described it as “a relatively net point” which centres on a belief that an officer was in Gorski's home at around 10pm on the night in question.

Both sides agreed an application to include the information could form part of the overall hearing and Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan listed the appeal to be heard over two days starting on January 31.

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