Liam Smith murder trial resumes: Alleged killer Michael Hillier, from Sheffield, 'did not intend to kill'

The death was allegedly prompted by a 'one-night stand'.
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The trial of a Sheffield man accused of 'executing' a father-of-two who then had sulphuric acid poured on him as he lay dying, is set to resume today.

Michael Hillier, aged 39, of Ecclesall Road, and his girlfriend, Rachel Fulstow, 37, from Andrew Drive, York, are both accused of the murder of Liam Smith, at his home in Wigan, last November.

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Both deny murder. Hillier has pleaded guilty to manslaughter while Fulstow denies the same charge. She also denies a single count of perverting the course of justice.

Fulstow is due to give evidence in her defence today.

Smith's death was allegedly prompted by a 'one-night stand' between the victim and former nail technician Fulstow, the trial at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester has heard.

Jurors were told earlier in the trial how when Fulstow later met Hillier, he was not happy about the fling and was “led to believe she had been raped”.

The five men and seven women jurors were told the gun used in the attack, which has never been recovered by police, was allegedly a blank-firing pistol bought by Hillier for £139.99 from a gun shop in Nottingham in October last year, a month before the killing.

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The court was told the weapon had then been modified so it could fire a projectile, and was armed with an 8mm steel ball-bearing and lead shot before being used to shoot Mr Smith in the face.

Hillier has admitted the manslaughter of Mr Smith but denies murder.

In a covert recording taken in prison and played to the jury, Hillier is heard to say, "we both wanted him to suffer" but that his intention was not to kill.

He added: "It was basically to maim him, disable him and then to pour the acid on his face to disfigure him so he was scarred for life, like she was scarred for life."

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The trial was adjourned until this morning when Fulstow is due to give evidence in her defence.

Mr Smith, 37, was lured out of his home on Kilburn Drive, Wigan in the early evening of November 24 last year and blasted at close range with the gun, the jury has been told, and then had corrosive liquid, probably sulphuric acid, poured on his face and body, burning away his flesh.

Earlier the court was told Mr Smith, an electrician, had a "brief liaison" with Fulstow at a hotel in York in 2019.

The next year she started dating Hillier, who was said to be unhappy about the liaison between Mr Smith and Fulstow and was "led to believe she had been raped", Jason Pitter KC, prosecuting, told the jury.

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Fulstow was initially treated as a witness by police until she was arrested in February this year.

She was held on suspicion of joint enterprise murder but told police she did not know what her boyfriend was planning.

The prosecution says she assisted in the organisation, preparation and execution of the attack.