Pair Found Guilty of Grisly Dating App Murder

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Image Credit: Greater Manchester Police

A woman and her ex-boyfriend have been convicted of the murder of Liam Smith, a man she previously met on Tinder. Smith, 38, was fatally shot in the face and later doused in acid in Shevington, Wigan, on 24 November 2022. Rachel Fulstow of York denied involvement, while Michael Hillier of Sheffield confessed to manslaughter.

As the verdict was delivered at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, Mr. Smith’s family expressed their relief. The trial revealed that Fulstow dated Smith in 2019 and claimed they had a non-consensual sexual encounter, although she did not label it rape. Fulstow began dating Hillier in 2021, describing him as occasionally abusive. Hillier alleged that Fulstow portrayed Smith’s actions as rape, leading them to jointly plot vigilante justice against Smith.

The court cleared the public gallery as Hillier’s testimony described Smith as a rapist, drawing strong reactions from Smith’s family. During the trial, Judge Maurice Greene emphasized to the jurors that the true nature of the encounter between Fulstow and Smith was irrelevant to the charges.

Evidence showed that Smith was lured from his home by Hillier and subsequently attacked. Digital traces on Fulstow’s phone linked her to planning the assault, including searches about Mr. Smith’s business and weather conditions on the day of the crime.

The jury found both guilty of murder, with Fulstow additionally convicted of perverting the course of justice. The sentencing is scheduled for Thursday.

Chris Morris
Author: Chris Morris

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