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24th Aug 2023

Chilling moment ‘vigilante’ killer shoots ex’s Tinder date dead after waiting outside for 10 hours

Charlie Herbert

Chilling moment 'vigilante' killer shoots ex's Tinder date dead after waiting outside for 10 hours

After shooting the victim at point blank range, he then threw acid over the body

CCTV footage has caught the horrifying moment a ‘vigilante’ killer shot dead his a man after waiting outside his home for 10 hours.

Father-of-two Liam Smith was shot outside his home in Wigan by Michael Hillier, who had been scoping out Smith’s address on Kilburn Drive.

In CCTV footage and dashcam footage from a passing bin lorry shared by Greater Manchester Police, Hillier can be seeing watching and waiting for Smith, before a gunshot is heard.

Hillier, 39, and his ex-partner Rachel Fulstow were both found guilty of Smith’s murder, and will be sentenced today (August 24).

In the horrific attack, which took place in November last year, Smith was shot in the face at point blank range by Hillier, who then threw sulphuric acid and soda crystals over his body, the Manchester Evening News reports.

During the trial for the killing, Hillier told jurors he was carrying out “vigilante justice” following claims from Fulstow that Smith had raped her in 2019 after a Tinder date.

Along with the footage, police also shared a picture of Hollier holding two shotguns abive his head.

Detective Chief Inspector Gina Brennand of Greater Manchester Police’s Major Incident Team said: “This is a proper whodunnit from the start where I had a victim that we knew nothing about. No witnesses, no suspects, no weapon, no motive, and very little evidence to go on.

“CCTV footage, some from Liam, the victim’s home address itself, and some from a bin wagon and an Asda delivery van captured the vehicle driven by the suspect, Michael Hillier, on the day of the murder. What that showed us is that car was outside of Liam’s home address for almost 10 hours before he got out and murdered Liam.

“We knew the build up in that we knew the movements of the vehicle. We knew the obtaining of licence plates, and we knew how Liam had been killed, but we didn’t know who’d done it.

“A couple of weeks into the investigation, we received intelligence from South Yorkshire Police, that a vehicle had been stopped three weeks before Liam was murdered and in that vehicle was the R22 ORA plate.

“It was that, that really unravelled this case. The thread that you pull, after that was a house of cards that led to one person to another to another to CCTV to Michael Hillier to Rachel Fulstow.”

Liam Smith, pictured, was shot outside his home by Michael Hillier on November 24, 2022 (Greater Manchester Police)

Hillier and Fulstow went on a two week trip to Jamaica just days after the killing.

On their return, Hillier was arrested and Fulstow was initially treated as a witness. But after repeatedly lying in interviews with police, she became a suspect.

Investigations later found that she had searched online for Smith’s business and address, and had searched what the weather would be like in Wigan on the day.

On Wednesday (August 23), the pair were found guilty of Smith’s murder, with Fulstow also convicted of perverting the course of justice.

They could both face life imprisonment.

Hillier and Fulstow were both found guilty of Smith’s murder (Greater Manchester Police)

Following the hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Gina Brennand of GMP’s Major Incident Team, said: “Our investigation team have worked tirelessly over the past 8 months to find answers for Liam’s family and hopefully the decisions in court today will give them some form of closure.

“This case has shown a number of complexities throughout, with Liam’s name being tainted in the process, and him not being here to defend himself against accusations has been really difficult for the family to hear in court.

“I would like to thank our partners in the Crown Prosecution Service and Prosecution Counsel who have helped secure this outcome.

“Our thoughts, as always, remain with Liam’s family through this devastating time.”

Rebecca Macaulay-Addison, for the CPS North West’s Complex Casework Unit, said: “Hillier and Fulstow planned the brutal murder of Liam Smith and attempted to cover their tracks at every stage. Far from being racked with guilt following the murder, the pair flew to Jamaica on holiday for two weeks.

“The CPS worked with Greater Manchester Police to piece together the evidence including eye-witness testimony, CCTV, extensive mobile phone evidence and medical evidence to build a strong case to put before the jury. The jury agreed with the prosecution and found them both guilty of murder.

“I hope that Liam’s family and friends can find some comfort in knowing his killers have been brought to justice. My thoughts remain with them.”

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