A man who was found guilty of murdering his former partner nearly 25 years after he attacked her has been jailed for life.
Steven Craig, 58, of Brailsford Crescent, York, was originally convicted of causing grievous bodily harm to Jacqueline Kirk in 2000 after he poured petrol on her and set her alight two years earlier.
Jacqueline sustained 35% burns in the incident and spent nine months in hospital – including three months in intensive care – before being discharged.
Craig was subsequently sentenced to life in prison for the attack before being released on licence in 2015 and then later recalled.
In August 2019, Jacqueline, known as Jackie, died aged 61.
A post-mortem examination recorded her cause of death as a ruptured diaphragm caused in part by burn injuries to her airway and torso.
Last month, a jury at Bristol Crown Court was asked to determine if the injuries she sustained at the hands of Craig directly led to her death and whether he was therefore guilty of murder.
They convicted Craig following a three-week trial and today, at the same court, he was given a mandatory life sentence with a minimum of 34 years behind bars.
Having already served almost 19 years in prison, this means Craig will serve an additional 15 years before once again being able to apply for parole.
During today’s hearing, Richard Smith KC, prosecuting, quoted from a statement Jacqueline Kirk made ahead of the trial in 2000.
Jaqueline wrote: “There have been times when I wonder if I have a life to live at all, however the thought of my children and the fact that I do not want Steve to have an influence on my giving up on life keeps me going at the moment but I have to admit it is a struggle.
“One of the things I cannot come to terms with is simply “why?”, “why me?” what have I ever done to serve this sentence on my life.”
She also wrote: “I don’t know what the future holds for me but I can say I just try to take each day as it comes and I have good days and bad days.
“One thing is for sure that every time I look at myself in the mirror I am reminded of what happened and I realise that I am going to have to treat my burns for the rest of my life.
“I do sometimes think that my scars are just dirty marks on my face and that my face I knew is underneath.
“I do at times sit there and think I was not meant to live and I was and should have died.”
For the first time at Bristol Crown Court, the judge’s sentencing remarks were filmed.
The Honourable Mrs Justice Stacey paid tribute to the courage Jackie’s children had shown and condemned Craig’s “callous and brutal” attack.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Almond, the senior investigating officer, said: “It is extremely difficult to put into words the impact Steven Craig’s actions had on both Jacqueline herself and her family.
“While I never met Jackie, from what her children tell me, she was a truly remarkable woman.
“She overcame numerous challenges with an incredible determination and fought with great dignity to rediscover the life she had before she was attacked.
“Her resilience was one of the reasons why she surprised doctors and survived for a further 21 years, during which time she saw her children grow up, get married and have children of their own.
“Steven Craig was undoubtedly responsible for Jackie’s death and like all murderers, deserves to be severely punished.
“I’d once again like to thank Jackie’s family for their support and praise them for the courage they’ve shown not just during the course of this investigation and court case, but for the past 24 years.
“I hope they can move on to the next chapter of their lives knowing justice has been done.”