Rachel Fulstow: Woman jointly accused of murder with Sheffield man to give evidence

She is to be cross-examined by the prosecution today.
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A woman jointly accused of murder with a Sheffield man is to be cross-examined today.

Rachel Fulstow, aged 37, from York, is accused of murder along with her boyfriend at the time of the alleged offence - Michael Hillier, 39, of Ecclesall Road, Sheffield.

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The pair stand accused of the murder of Liam Smith, 38, who was shot and doused in acid outside his home in Wigan on November 24 last year. 

Rachel Fulstow is jointly accused of murder alongside Sheffield man, Michael Hillier (Photo: Greater Manchester Police)Rachel Fulstow is jointly accused of murder alongside Sheffield man, Michael Hillier (Photo: Greater Manchester Police)
Rachel Fulstow is jointly accused of murder alongside Sheffield man, Michael Hillier (Photo: Greater Manchester Police)

The prosecution case is that when the pair were together they hatched a plan to enact revenge upon Mr Smith, over a 'non-consensual' sexual encounter Fulstow had with Mr Smith, who she had met on Tinder.

Fulstow denies that the one-night stand had caused her to persuade her new boyfriend, Hillier, to attack him.

Hillier, who admits manslaughter, is said to have been "led to believe" the fling between Fulstow and Mr Smith at a York hotel in 2019 was non-consensual, though Fulstow told jurors last week she had not regarded the encounter as rape.

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Mr Smith was lured from his home, shot in the face and then had sulphuric acid poured over him as he lay dying, Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester has heard.

Last week, Michael Hayton KC, defending Fulstow, put to her allegations that her co-accused Hillier had made against her.

He said: “Did you persuade Michael Hillier to wreak revenge on Liam Smith? Did you know he was going to do it before he went to shoot and pour acid on him?”

“No,” Fulstow replied.

Mr Hayton continued: “Had you wanted Michael Hillier to carry out this attack as a consequence of what happened in 2019?”

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Fulstow told the jury: “No. That incident was three or four years before and something I had never talked about to anybody else.”

Fulstow has told the jury the first she knew that Mr Smith had come to harm was when Hillier turned up at her house in York.

Hillier admits Mr Smith’s manslaughter but denies murder along with Fulstow, who denies helping her boyfriend carry out the murder plot.

Earlier, Fulstow said she met Mr Smith through Tinder and he travelled to York to meet up in September 2019.

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They went out and got drunk and they ended up having sex – but she said it was not consensual.

Fulstow said she did not regard the episode as “rape” and would not call it that.

She said: “He apologised, we spoke about it and I accepted that and we carried on. It was non-consensual but that is not the word (rape) I have used or have ever used. I just wanted to forget about it.”

Around 15 months later she met Hillier on the dating app Hinge, the court heard.

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But she said there were problems in their relationship, with Hillier being verbally abusive, moody, unpredictable and suffering mental health issues.

He was also a heavy user of diazepam, she said, and was not happy she had the one-night stand with Mr Smith as this was “not classy” and it was something he kept bringing up.

But Fulstow, an international travel and tourism management graduate from Leeds Met University, who worked for a property management company, said she had no knowledge Hillier was planning to harm Mr Smith.

She was initially arrested as a witness but did not tell police everything she knew because she was “petrified” of Hillier, she said.

Fulstow is to be cross-examined over her evidence today.

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