Published Friday, 04 May 2012
Henryk Gorski, who was convicted of Shirley Finlay's 2006 murder. (© Pacemaker)
The Court of Appeal ruled that Henryk Gorski being on bail for an alleged rape when he murdered 24-year-old Shirley Finlay was correctly treated as an aggravating factor.
Ms Finlay's partially clothed body was found dumped at a car park in Ballymena, Co Antrim in September 2006.
Gorski, 55, was convicted of her murder by a unanimous jury verdict.
The former meat factory worker was linked to the killing by fingerprints found on bin bags used to tie Ms Finlay's 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 his Hill Street flat.
Despite losing his appeal against conviction, he mounted a new challenge to the prison term set for what the trial judge described as a "brutal murder" involving disposal of the body in a way which was "callous in the extreme".
Gorski's lawyers argued that the fact he was out on bail accused of rape - a charge he was ultimately cleared of - at the time of the killing was wrongly held against him during sentencing.
But Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan pointed out the allegation was that Gorski had attacked a woman.
He said: "It seems to us that to commit this offence, which involved the accosting of this young lady... in circumstances where he was on bail for the offence of rape was a matter which the learned trial judge was entitled to take into account as an aggravating factor.
"The approach he has taken to the question of aggravation which led to imposing a tariff of 20 years in this case is one which is neither manifestly excessive nor wrong in principle.
"Accordingly we dismiss the appeal."