Killer who set partner on fire 20 years ago in 'Reservoir Dogs' attack jailed

10 November 2022, 12:09 | Updated: 10 November 2022, 13:00

Craig was jailed for a longer sentence
Craig was jailed for a longer sentence. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

A man has been sentenced to a further 15 years in prison - in addition to the 18 he has already served - for setting his partner on fire and causing her death 21 years later.

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Steven Craig has already served more than 18 years behind bars for attacking and raping mother-of-two Jacqueline Kirk in 1998.

She survived but endured horrendous burns to more than a third of her body before her death, aged 62, in 2019 when her diaphragm collapsed.

He was arrested again and charged with her murder, which he was found guilty of last month.

On Thursday, he was given a minimum of 34 years, including the 18 he has served.

Mrs Justice Stacey told him his actions were "sadistic" and said: "There is no doubt that you planned and intended to engage in a gratuitous, deliberate and monstrous attack on Jackie with whatever means at your disposal."

She added: "The chilling way in which you forced her into submission and tried to bend her to your will with your abusive behaviour and misogyny over the months and years is an aggravating factor."

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Craig, from York, tied Ms Kirk to a chair in a car park in Weston-super-Mare before setting her on fire in a fantasy inspired by the Quentin Tarantino film Reservoir Dogs.

The judge said he enjoyed watching a torture scene in the film and liked acting as the characters.

During the trial, medical experts told the jury how Craig's actions had made a "more than minimal" contribution to Ms Kirk's death before they unanimously found him guilty.

Ms Kirk died in hospital from a ruptured diaphragm caused by her intestines swelling, with the level of scarring to her chest and abdomen meaning they could not expand.

Medics did not operate on her due to her health problems and frailty.

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Prosecuting, Richard Smith KC told jurors at Bristol Crown Court that her burns to her face, neck, chest, torso, thighs and buttock played a "significant" part in her death.

"Therefore, we say that good sense and the law says that this defendant should be accountable for the full consequences of what he did," Mr Smith said.

"The prosecution says that this defendant can be described as having murdered the victim."

He said the law did not require Ms Kirk's injuries were the sole cause or the main cause of her death, but that the "contribution made by the scarring was more than minimal".

"All the law demands is that the contribution made by the scarring was more than minimal," Mr Smith said.

But Craig's defence said the scarring did not lead to the rupture and the decision not to operate was down to other injuries, not the attack.

Updates to follow

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