A man accused of murdering a father-of-two who was shot and attacked with acid has been removed from court after interrupting the judge’s summing up.
The jury in the trial of Michael Hillier and York woman Rachel Fulstow, both accused of the murder of Liam Smith, 38, in Wigan, retired to consider their verdicts shortly before 1pm today (Tuesday).
Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester has heard Mr Smith, an electrician, went on a date with Fulstow, 37, in 2019 when she has claimed they had “non-consensual sex” at a hotel.
Hillier, 39, who has admitted manslaughter but denies murder, claims they plotted together to attack Mr Smith after Fulstow, who he was in a relationship with, told him she had been raped.
Summing up the case this morning, Judge Maurice Greene reminded the jury of Fulstow’s evidence about sex with Mr Smith, which she said she did not consider to be rape.
Speaking from the dock, Hillier said: “It’s not sex, it’s rape.
“What sort of message does that send out? Sex is consensual, rape isn’t.”
He was removed from the dock by security officers.
Before the jury was sent out to consider its verdict, Louise Blackwell, defending Hillier, said he apologised.
Judge Greene replied: “Emotions run high, as I’ve already mentioned.”
Earlier, he told the five men and five women on the jury they did “not really need to decide” what happened when Mr Smith met Fulstow.
He said: “As to what really happened on that night we will probably never know and it probably doesn’t matter.”
The jury has heard Mr Smith was lured out of his home on Kilburn Drive, Shevington, on 24 November last year by Hillier, who shot him in the face before pouring acid over him.
Fulstow, of Andrew Drive, York has told the court she did not know her boyfriend was going to shoot Mr Smith.
She denies murder and a charge of perverting the course of justice.
The jury was sent home at 4.15pm and will continue its deliberations tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10.30am.