Woman’s ‘life ruined’ by killer boyfriend

The girlfriend of one of Josh Hirst’s killers is now starting her own prison sentence.

Monday, 25th February 2013, 2:00 pm
Murderer Joe Church was told he had ruined his girlfriend's life.

Kirstie Rainford, 22, helped her then boyfriend Joe Church after he had fatally stabbed the 20-year-old outside his home.

On Thursday, prosecutor Neil Davey QC told Leeds Crown Court how she met up with Church and accomplice Aaron Smith by an electricity pylon in Forge Lane, Liversedge.

She took clean clothes for Church to change into, and gave the two killers a lift to a house in Huddersfield where they cleaned themselves up.

Mr Davey said she knew Church and Smith had committed an offence on August 3 last year because they were “covered in blood”.

She later filled Church’s car with petrol and drove it to him, and he used it to dump evidence. Mr Davey said by then she knew Mr Hirst was dead.

She admitted three counts of assisting an offender at an earlier hearing and was sentenced to 21 months in prison on Thursday.

Mr Davey said that when interviewed by police she “frequently claimed to be frightened and ‘scared of Joe and what he might do to me’”.

Tony Kelbrick, mitigating, said Rainford, of Springbank Drive, Liversedge, had a “delicate personality” and was living with Church and his parents at the time of the incident.

Judge Peter Collier QC said: “In your relationship with Church, you were always ready to jump when he called.”

Church’s barrister, Paul Greaney QC, said Church took full responsibilty for involving Rainford in the incident.

Judge Collier told Church: “One of the worst aggravating features is that you involved an otherwise decent young woman in this and have ruined her life.”