Fresh appeal over strangled woman

Sex motive probed in murder hunt
Police investigating the murder of a young woman in County Antrim have said a sexual motive is one of their main lines of inquiry.

Shirley Finlay, 24, from Crebilly Road, Ballymena, was found strangled in Mount Street car park on 19 September.

Police want to hear from anyone who may have seen her in the Harryville area on Monday 18 September with a tall, dark haired man in his late 20s/early 30s.

They are also looking for her footwear and her jeans or black track bottoms.

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Woods said the response to the initial police appeal for information had been good, but detectives needed to find out more about Ms Finlay's last movements.

He said police still had an open mind as to the motive for the death, but added: "A sexual motive is very much a main line of enquiry."

He added: "Shirley was found wrapped in a duvet in Mount Street car park with a grey fleece, but we don't know where her shoes and trousers are.

"If they've been dumped somewhere, we need to find them.


"We have also had a number of sightings of her in the Harryville area with a tall, slim man with dark hair. We need this man to come forward."

Police have printed posters and leaflets with Ms Finlay's photograph to raise public awareness.

A mobile police station is also in operation at the Mount Street car park where her body was found.

Inspector Woods said that in the photograph issued of Ms Finlay, she has dark hair. But when she was last seen alive, her hair had been dyed blonde.

She was five ft tall, of slim to average build and was wearing a grey fleece, black trouser bottoms and, possibly, trainers.

Ms Finlay has been described as a woman who had mental health problems and who regularly walked alone in Ballymena.

Police have described her murder as "brutal".

She would have celebrated her 25th birthday last Friday.

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