A York woman has been convicted of murder today.
Rachel Fulstow, 37, of Andrew Drive, was found guilty of the murder of Liam Smith, 38.
Her co-accused, Michael Hillier, 39, who had admitted manslaughter, was also convicted of murder at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester.
Mr Smith was shot in the face and then had acid poured over him outside his home in Wigan, Greater Manchester, on 24 November last year.
Hillier told the court that he and his girlfriend Fulstow both planned to attack Mr Smith after Fulstow claimed he had raped her.
Fulstow, who worked for a property management company, denied knowing her then partner had planned to harm him.
Mr Smith’s family shouted “yes” and “thank you so much” before sobbing and hugging as the jury found both defendants guilty of murder today (Wednesday).
Hillier, who was handcuffed in the dock, stared over at his former partner as the verdicts were returned.
Two jurors appeared tearful after coming back to court after six hours and 44 minutes of deliberations.
The court heard Fulstow met Mr Smith on dating app Tinder and the pair went on a date in York in 2019, when she said they had “non-consensual sex” at a hotel in York.
She did not describe it as rape and said she went for lunch with Mr Smith the following day, the court heard.
In 2021 she began a relationship with Hillier but said he could be verbally abusive and unpredictable and was not happy she had a one-night stand with Mr Smith.
She told the court the first she knew of the attack on Mr Smith was when Hillier turned up at her house the following morning and told her.
Fulstow, an international travel and tourism management graduate from Leeds Met University, said she was “petrified” to go to police about her boyfriend.
The court heard the couple went on holiday to Jamaica together days after the killing.
Hillier, who told the court he was concerned in the production and distribution of a large-scale cannabis operation, said they had both planned the attack on Mr Smith after Fulstow disclosed she had been “graphically raped” by him.
He told the jury: “We decided jointly between the two of us that we would deal with the matter ourselves and seek justice ourselves and go down the vigilante route.”
The public gallery in court was cleared during his evidence as members of Mr Smith’s family reacted to his description of the victim as a rapist.
Judge Maurice Greene told jurors they did not need to decide what happened between Mr Smith and Fulstow.
During his summing up, he said: “As to what really happened on that night we will probably never know and it probably doesn’t matter.”
The court heard Mr Smith was lured out of his house at about 6.40pm by Hillier, who shot him in the face before pouring acid onto his face and body, followed by soda crystals.
Fulstow’s phone showed she had made internet searches Mr Smith’s electrical company and Mitsubishi Shogun cars, like the one used by Hillier and later burned out.
On the morning of the killing, she checked the weather in Wigan, the court heard.
Fulstow was also found guilty of a charge of perverting the course of justice.
The case was adjourned for sentencing tomorrow (Thursday).