PPS statement on 'shocking and violent' murder of Alyson Nelson 

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William Finlay (68) has been told he will serve a minimum of 20 years of a life sentence after being convicted of the brutal murder of his former partner in April 2022.  

Finlay stabbed Alyson Nelson seven times after entering her house in Whitehead, Co Antrim, through the unlocked front door. The court heard the murder was committed following a relationship that had ended 18 months previously.  

PPS Senior Public Prosecutor Keith Harbinson said: “Finlay went armed with a knife from his kitchen to Ms Nelson’s house early on the evening of 16th April 2022. He carried out a shocking and violent attack on his defenceless victim in her own home, stabbing her seven times in less than a minute. 

“The Police Service of Northern Ireland investigation uncovered extensive evidence including the knife Finlay used, forensic and witness evidence, and footage from a doorbell camera at Ms Nelson’s home. This footage showed the defendant arriving at the house in Victoria Avenue and leaving a minute later, wiping down the knife he had used to stab her.  

“The prosecution team including Senior Counsel worked collaboratively with police, using the evidence they gathered to build a compelling case for court against Finlay, which led to his guilty plea in November 2023.  

“Finlay murdered Ms Nelson following the end of their relationship. There should be no place in society for domestic abuse. We always take domestic abuse, including violence perpetrated by a partner or former partner, very seriously and consider it to be an aggravating factor in a case. 

“This case had the most serious and tragic outcome there can be, however domestic abuse can take many forms. Prosecuting domestic abuse offences and bringing offenders to justice where there is the evidence to do so is a key priority for the PPS. 

“Finlay’s brutal actions have left Ms Nelson’s friends and family, including her four children, and the wider community in Whitehead, of which she was a much-respected member, devastated. I would like to thank Ms Nelson’s family for their dignity throughout these proceedings. I hope that the conclusion of the court case brings them some comfort as they continue to try and cope with their loss.”


Read more about the PPS’s approach to domestic abuse cases