Provisional trial date set for man accused of Wigan dad Liam Smith's brutal murder

A man accused of the gun and acid murder of a Wigan dad outside his home has made his first appearance before a judge.

Michael Hillier, 38, of Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, stood in the dock at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square, facing the single charge of murdering 38-year-old Liam Smith on the evening of Thursday November 24 last year.

The businessman and father of two suffered a fatal gunshot wound and his body was dowsed in acid and alkali following the attack on Kilburn Drive, Shevington.

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Sentencing date set for the vigilante killers of a Wigan dad
Liam Smith suffered a fatal gunshot wound outside his house in Kilburn Drive, Shevington

At the brief hearing Hillier was told that a plea and trial preparation hearing would take place on March 27 and, if he were to plead not guilty, a trial would begin on July 10 and be scheduled to last three weeks.

In the meantime he has been remanded into custody.

A 35-year-old man, who was also arrested in Sheffield on suspicion of conspiring to commit Mr Smith’s murder last week, remains on bail after being quizzed by detectives.

Police are continuing to investigate the killing and have appealed for anyone with knowledge of a suspicious car on false number plates and with damage to its rear side that was twice seen near the victim’s house.

Manchester Crown Court

His parents Phil and Julia bravely took part in a police press conference to make their own heartfelt appeals for information that would bring their son’s killer or killers to justice.

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Anyone with details is asked to ring the police on 101 or the freephone Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555111.