Ex-partner William Finlay jailed for 20 years for Alyson Nelson murder

A pensioner who stabbed his former partner seven times in her Co Antrim home in a jealous rage has been jailed for 20 years. 

William Finlay gave no reaction in the dock as the Judge handed down his sentence.

The 68-year-old pleaded guilty to murdering retired nurse Alyson Nelson in a 'premeditated and vicious' attack in the mother-of-four's Whitehead home in April 2022. 

The 64-year-old met Finlay online but ended the relationship in 2020. 

Eighteen months later Finlay, of Old Forde Gardens in Whitehead, decided to murder her because he was jealous of her new relationship. 

The judge said CCTV captured Finlay going to her home on the night of April 16 2022, where he stabbed her a number of times in a “vicious, unrelenting attack”.

The Public Prosecution Service said the murder of Alyson Nelson was a “shocking and violent attack” on a defenceless victim.

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

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 April 16 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.”

Detective Inspector Michelle Griffin has welcomed the sentencing of William Finlay for the murder of Alyson Nelson, describing it as the first for murder aggravated by domestic abuse since new legislation became law in 2022.

Speaking outside Belfast Crown Court, she said: “Today he was told he will serve a minimum of 20 years in prison.

“Alyson Nelson, who was 64 years old, was attacked by William Finlay on Saturday, April 16, 2022. She was stabbed multiple times in her own home in the village of Whitehead. A place she should have felt safe.

“Alyson was a much-loved mother, grandmother and sister. The entire family has suffered a huge loss made only the more agonising by the cruel way in which her life was actually taken.

“William Finlay and Alyson had previously been in a relationship which had ended over a year before the fatal stabbing even took place.

“As a result, William Finlay is the first person in Northern Ireland to be convicted and sentenced for murder which has been aggravated by domestic abuse under new legislation.

“I know that Alyson’s loving family are heartbroken and my thoughts, and the thoughts of our entire team, remain with them today.”

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