Reservoir Dogs inspired killer jailed for life after setting girlfriend on fire

Jackie Kirk with her daughter

A man who murdered his girlfriend by dousing her in petrol and setting her on fire more than two decades ago has been sent to prison for life.

59-year-old Steven Craig is believed to have been inspired by a scene in the film Reservoir Dogs when he attacked Jackie Kirk in Weston-super-Mare in 1998.

Jackie Kirk survived the assault 24 years ago but spent a month in a coma and was left with horrific lifelong injuries. In 2019, she was taken to hospital and died, aged 62.

Craig was convicted of grievous bodily harm and imprisoned in 2000. But he was subsequently found guilty of her murder last month (28 October).

Today, in a televised sentencing, Mrs Justice Stacey sentenced Craig to 34 years before being considered for parole.

He has already served 18 years, which will be removed from that figure. The judge told Craig he would now serve at least 15 years in prison.

Upon sentencing, the judge told the court: "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."

"Your conduct was sadistic (...) your attack was planned and premeditated.

"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.

Steven Craig was found guilty of murder on 28 October Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

"You had the audacity to play the hero to the police when first asked what happened. You then maintained your lies in five police interviews making up a story about a group of yobs and suggesting it was Jackie's fault for spilling the petrol onto her own clothes and lighting a cigarette."

She said the injuries and disfigurement he inflicted were 'horrific'. 

The landmark case was heard at Bristol Crown Court, where Craig denied the charge of murder.

The jury however agreed with the prosecution that the horrific injuries he inflicted on Ms Kirk led to her death and convicted him of murder.

In 1998, Ms Kirk was a 40-year-old mother who loved her children and the outdoors.

But on 18 April that year, Steven Craig, from York, attacked Ms Kirk by pouring petrol over her head and setting her alight.

The fire almost killed her and she was rushed to hospital, where she was placed in a medically-induced coma.

Ms Kirk's survival led to Steven Craig being convicted of GBH in 2000, which saw him spend years behind bars.

But in August 2019, Ms Kirk was taken to the Royal United Hospital Bath.

Medical professionals found her insides had swollen, causing her diaphragm to rupture, quickly leading to her death.

A post-mortem examination found that because she had so much scar tissue, her abdomen could not expand as it should have and experts concluded that these old injuries had led directly to her death.

Craig had been released from prison and was living in York when he was informed of Kirk’s death.

The landmark ruling which found him guilty was in part thanks to a change in the law made before the attack on Kirk ever took place.

At the time of sentencing Ben Samples of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The law was changed in the mid-90s to reflect the advances in medical support, such that we can now consider a prosecution for murder if somebody sadly dies later as a result of their injuries.”