Tinder murder-accused Rachel Fulstow denies making killer packed lunch and wishing him luck to kill Liam Smith
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A woman accused of plotting the shooting and acid murder of her Tinder date denied making the killer a packed lunch and wishing him good luck as he set off to attack his victim.
Rachel Fulstow, 37, is accused of being in on the plan to kill Liam Smith, 38, with whom she had a one-night stand in a York hotel.
Fulstow denies murder, saying the first she knew Mr Smith had come to harm was when her boyfriend Michael Hillier, 39, turned up at her home after the fatal attack, Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester heard.
She claims she was too petrified of Hillier, a “significant” drug dealer, to go to the police, so instead lied to detectives investigating the killing.
But she agreed she viewed body-builder Hillier, whom she met on the dating app Hinge, as an “alpha male” who represented her last chance of settling down and having children.
Mr Smith had been lured from his home, shot in the face then had sulphuric acid poured over him as he lay dying.
The father-of-two, an electrician from Chorley but who was living in Wigan, was declared dead at the scene, last November 24.
Mr Smith’s murder was allegedly prompted by a “one-night stand” between him and Fulstow, at a York hotel in 2019, which angered her new boyfriend Hillier, whom she met more than a year later, the trial has heard.
The jury heard Hillier was “led to believe” the one-night stand, arranged on Tinder, was a “non-consensual” sexual encounter, leading to Mr Smith’s death.
Louise Blackwell KC, defending Hillier, suggested telephone calls, text messages and searches on her phone showed she was in on the plot to harm Mr Smith.
The jury was shown Fulstow had searched for “How long it takes for a car to burn out?” – as happened in this case after Mr Smith died, Ms Blackwell said.
On November 4, 2022, the court heard, Hillier told Fulstow he was going to “confront” Mr Smith at his home in Wigan.
The same morning Fulstow researched ambulance and police response times on her phone and next searched the pornographic website, Pornhub.
Ms Blackwell said: “You don’t look to be particularly concerned?”
Fulstow replied: “I didn’t believe he was going to do it.”
The jury also heard of two searches for the weather forecast in Wigan on the day of the fatal attack, made on Fulstow’s phone.
Police also found 10 images on her phone, close-ups from Google Streetmap of the view around Mr Smith’s home.
Fulstow said she told Hillier during the one-night stand with Mr Smith that they were both drunk, she went back to his hotel room and woke up to find him having sex with her.
She told him to stop, which he did and then he apologised, the whole incident lasting a minute or two.
She said she did not regard the encounter as rape and denied beginning to talk about taking “revenge” with Hillier.
Ms Blackwell said: “He was your knight in shining armour. Your protector.”
Fulstow replied: “No. These are his words.”
Ms Blackwell then asked about the morning when Mr Smith was attacked.
She said: “Did you kiss him goodbye? Did you wish him good luck? You even prepared a packed lunch.”
Fulstow replied: “No. That did not happen.”
Under cross examination by Jason Pitter KC, prosecuting, Fulstow admitted that after the sexual encounter with Mr Smith she stayed the night with him and had lunch with him the next day.
Fulstow agreed she knew Hillier was a drug dealer, who was “flashy” and a show-off, with a “fancy car”, using rooms in his Sheffield home to grow and sell cannabis, the “spoils” of which she enjoyed.
He also had “criteria” for women to be his partner that he expected “his women” to comply with, one of which was not to have had a one-night stand, the court heard.
Mr Pitter said: “You must have feared you might lose him. You were worried your chance to settle down and have children were going to disappear?”
Fulstow replied: “Yes.”
Hillier has admitted manslaughter but denies murder, along with Fulstow.
She also denies a single count of perverting the course of justice.
The trial was adjourned until Friday.