Steven Craig has been jailed at Bristol Crown Court for life with a minimum of 15 years for murdering Jacqueline Kirk, who died 21 years after he set her on fire in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
Craig, 58, inflicted horrendous injuries on Ms Kirk in a car park in Weston-super-Mare in April 1998.
He was convicted of grievous bodily harm with intent in relation to the attack on Ms Kirk, a mother-of-two, and handed a discretionary life sentence with a minimum term of nine years for that and two other offences.
Craig served over 15 years in prison but was arrested and charged with murder in June 2021 after Ms Kirk’s death aged 61 in August 2019.
Steven Craig Avon and Somerset Police
Jacqueline Kirk Avon and Somerset Police
A jury at Bristol Crown Court unanimously convicted Craig of the charge last month, finding the injuries caused by him – including burns to 35 percent of Ms Kirk’s body – were linked to her dying from a ruptured diaphragm.
Ms Kirk was in hospital for nine months after the attack and required 14 operations, including a tracheotomy and skin grafts.
She survived for 21 years and was able to see both of her children get married, and become a grandmother.
In August 2019, she was taken to the Royal United Hospital in Bath and died the next day.
During Craig’s trial, jurors were told scarring to Ms Kirk’s chest and abdomen meant their ability to expand was reduced when she suffered intestinal swelling.
Given her frailty, doctors decided not to operate on Ms Kirk when she fell ill.
Richard Smith KC, prosecuting, told jurors the law did not demand that they find Ms Kirk’s injuries to be the sole or a main cause of her death, but that the contribution made by them was “more than minimal”.
Permission had to be sought from the attorney general, then Suella Braverman, who is now Home Secretary, to charge Craig with murder.
Craig admitted the attack on Ms Kirk but denied being responsible for her death.