Acid murder trial hears of secret prison recording

Michael Hillier, 39, was heard speaking of his involvement in the plot to harm Liam Smith, 38, along with his alleged accomplice, his girlfriend Rachel Fulstow, 37.

Both are accused of the joint enterprise murder of Mr Smith after Fulstow had a one-night stand with him then led her new boyfriend, Hillier, to believe she had been raped, Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester has heard.

Hillier has admitted manslaughter and is caught on tape saying his intention was to maim his victim not to kill him.

Jurors were told Mr Smith was lured out of his home and blasted at close range with a gun by Hillier, 39, who then poured corrosive liquid, probably sulphuric acid, on the face and body of his stricken victim, burning away his flesh.

He was left for dead in the street outside his house, with the chemicals still “fizzing” on his body when he was found shortly after the attack in the early evening of November 24 last year.

Mr Smith, an electrician from Wigan, Greater Manchester, had had a “brief liaison” with former nail technician Fulstow, with a one-night stand in a York hotel in 2019.

The next year she became the partner of Hillier, who was not happy about the fling and was “led to believe she had been raped”, the court heard.

Both Fulstow, from Andrew Drive, York and Hillier, from Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, deny murder.

Fulstow has told police she did not know what Hillier was planning to do.

On Monday the jury heard of the covert recording of Hillier made in prison following his arrest two months after Mr Smith died.

The case is being heard at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester (Alamy/PA)

Hillier is heard to say: “She is trying to like distance herself from it. So, I feel massively lied to and betrayed.

“She was meant to give me an alibi, you know that was the whole point.

“She gave me a kiss goodbye, wished me luck, you know, was very supportive.”

Hillier is also heard to say they had discussed reporting the alleged rape to police but then talked about “other options” and dealing with it themselves.

He adds: “We both wanted him to suffer, you know what I mean, it wasn’t the intention for him to end up dead.

“It was basically to maim him, disable him and then to pour the acid on his face to disfigure him so he was scarred for life, like she was scarred for life.

“We’ve planned and we’ve plotted and we’ve schemed, and she has been well involved like.

“We were meant to be a team.

“It was meant to be a category one GBH, it was never the intention that he would die.”

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday morning.

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