Rachel Fulstow smiles as she enjoys an excursion during a dream holiday to Jamaica – just days after the brutal murder of her former lover.
The York woman doesn’t appear to have a care in the world. Yet six days before she flew out to the Caribbean island, her boyfriend had gone through with their ‘meticulously planned’ murder of Liam Smith.
Today, Fulstow, 37, of Andrew Drive, Huntington, was jailed for life for her part in the murder of father-of-two Liam Smith.
Her then boyfriend, Michael Hillier, 39, was also given a life sentence. He lured Mr Smith outside his home in Wigan on 24 November last year, shot him and covered him with acid.
He told the jury he carried out the attack to “seek justice” for Fulstow, who told him she was raped by Mr Smith at a York hotel in September 2019.
She had met Mr Smith through the dating app Tinder.
Liam’s sister Gemma Smith called Fulstow a “lying, murdering bitch”, adding: “Liam has done nothing wrong. He’s completely innocent.”
In a statement read outside court after the sentencing, Mr Smith’s family said: “Liam was more than just a family member to us. He was our rock, our Liam.
“He had the biggest and most kind-hearted soul and would literally do anything for anyone.
“We are always asking ourselves, why did this happen to Liam? Why do his two boys now have to live with the knowledge that their loving father was taken away from them in the most barbaric of circumstances?”
They added: “His name has been tainted throughout this trial and that wasn’t him. It is not our Liam. He has been denied the chance to publicly clear his name.”
Detective Chief Inspector Gina Brennand said: “This was a challenging investigation from the start. A meticulously planned and executed murder by Michael Hillier and Rachel Fulstow so as to avoid detection.
“They spent months planning their attack, including the sourcing of chemicals, the test-firing of weaponry, the obtaining of two sets of cloned vehicle plates and researching routes so as to avoid cameras.
“They were hellbent on carrying out their attack.
“They thought they would get away with it, they even planned false alibis.
“It took us six months to find the burnt out shell of the (Mitsubishi) Shogun used in this murder. They, on the other hand, went on holiday to Jamaica.”
Det Ch Insp Brennand said Mr Smith’s name had been “besmirched” and “tainted” during the trial.
She said: “Liam was unable to defend himself throughout this process which made it even more heart-breaking for his family.
“Whilst sat in court, neither defendant showed any signs of remorse, nor have they recognised the magnitude of what they’ve done and the impact on Liam’s family and ultimately his two boys.
“I’m relieved that the jury were compelled by the prosecution case, seeing through their lies and deceit and ultimately leading to a very long prison sentence.”