Michael Hillier and Rachel Fulstow have been jailed for life at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court for the “brutal and cold blooded murder” of Liam Smith.
The pair were jailed for life by Judge Maurice Greene and will have to serve minimum terms of 33 and 30 years respectively for their part in the brutal murder.
Fulstow who was dressed all in black, was sat on the front row of seats in the dock while Hillier, in a checked suit and tie, was handcuffed to officers on the second row of the dock after an outburst during the judges summing up which led to him being removed from the court previously.
Liam’s body was discovered by a member of the public on Kilburn Drive in Wigan on the evening of Thursday 24th of November 2022 after he was subject to a fatal gunshot wound and an acid attack.
Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard emotive “Victim Impact Statements’ which detailed the heartbreak of Liam’s mother, Julia Smith, and his sister about their lives following the murder.
A victim impact statement from Julia Smith, Liam’s mother, told the court that his body was released during the week of Christmas and on Christmas Eve they were picking flowers and arranging the funeral.
She went on to add that Liam’s 14-year-old son has had to change schools as it’s too distressing to return to his old school, which was relatively close to his father’s house.
Julia said as a family “we are completely broken by this senseless act.”
The mother of Liam’s 14 and 11-year-old sons said: “Liam was genuinely the best and most devoted dad – he would do anything for his boys. His life revolved around his two boys. I remember the day I told the boys their beloved dad was never going to come home again, and I will remember it until the day I die.”
Liam’s sister’s ‘Victim Impact Statement’ said: “Our happy memories turn into painful ones.”
Judge Maurice Green said whilst sentencing Fulstow that she was “University educated and have held down good jobs it’s almost incomprehensible you have acted as you have done.”
“Whatever happened between you and Smith can never be justification.”
The judge said to Hillier: “Your appalling background has clearly had an impact on you. Whist taking account of those factors, I don’t believe they reduce your culpability.”
The family of Liam Smith shouted to the dock as they were taken down to the cells underneath the court, showing no signs of remorse of any emotion.
Hillier even shouted back “Your boys a rapist” as he was removed from the dock.
Gemma Smith, Liam’s sister replied “You don’t meet a rapist for dinner the next day.”
Detective Chief Inspector Gina Brennand of GMP’s Major Incident Team said: “Our investigation team has worked tirelessly over the past 8 months to find answers for Liam’s family and hopefully the decisions in court today will give them some form of closure.
“This case has shown a number of complexities throughout, with Liam’s name being tainted in the process, and him not being here to defend himself against accusations has been really difficult for the family to hear in court.
“I would like to thank our partners in the Crown Prosecution Service and Prosecution Counsel who have helped secure this outcome.
“Our thoughts, as always, remain with Liam’s family through this devastating time.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub