Stephen Craig jailed: Children of petrol attack victim Jacqueline Kirk 'grateful' for extra 21 years they had together

The children of a woman who died 21 years after being doused in petrol and set ablaze by her partner have said they are "thankful" for every extra day they spent together.

Stephen Craig, 58, spent more than 18 years in prison for the "sadistic" petrol attack on Jacqueline Kirk in a car park in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, in April 1998.

Following her death in August 2019 he was charged with murder and found guilty by a jury last month.

On Thursday, Craig was handed a further 15 years behind bars - meaning he will now serve a minimum of 34 years in prison.

Ms Kirk was subjected to a "callous and brutal" ordeal which left her with burns to 35% of her body.

Against the odds, she survived more than two decades and was able to witness both her children get married and become a grandmother.

But she died a day after being admitted to hospital with a ruptured abdomen in 2019, with doctors refusing to operate due to her frail condition.

Ms Kirk's son, Shane, and daughter, Sonna, paid tribute to her bravery in moving statements read during Craig's sentencing hearing at Bristol Crown Court.

"Every day was a struggle - but she hardly ever complained"

Recalling the moment he saw his mother for the first time after the attack, Shane, then 22, said: "I immediately began to cry but remember thinking very vividly that this can't be real and that the person in the bed wasn't my mum.

"I remember saying goodbye, it felt like I had already lost her."

But he added: "Even though she was unrecognisable and she could not speak, slowly, week by week, her personality and character shined through, and she slowly became our mum again."

"Every day was a struggle" for Ms Kirk, who battled constant pain, he said - but "she hardly ever complained about all the things she found hard in life."

"In the first few years, every time she was admitted to hospital it felt like that could be it," he said.

"Eventually this became normal and she would always pull through, she was such a fighter.

"Mum was just 40 when she was burnt, but she managed to find her voice again after being told she would never talk.

"She beat all the odds and went on to have over 20 more years that I will always be grateful for.

"I will always feel that mum should and could have had and done so much more in her life, but Stephen Craig has taken her from our lives too soon."

"Grateful and thankful for every extra day I spent with mum"

Mother-of-two Sonna was just 13 when her mother was attacked, with both her and brother Shane forced to grow up very fast.

For almost a year, the siblings caught three buses to visit Ms Kirk in hospital.

They were both at her bedside, holding her hand when she died in hospital.

Sonna said in her statement: "I spent 21 years of feeling grateful and thankful for every extra day that I got to spend with my mum.

"From the very beginning when I was told that she would likely die she managed to surprise everyone and come through so much.

"She was able to see me grow up into an adult where I got married and then went on to have children and so she became nanny Jackie.

"It's has been three years since my mum died and during that time part of my life has been on hold because I haven't had complete closure.

"I have also had to deal with the emotional trauma of going through a second trial, only this time my mum is no longer with me."

Craig, who must serve a minimum of 15 years before being considered for release by the parole board, had a string of previous convictions including rape and grevious bodily harm of another partner.

He admitted responsibility for the attack on Ms Kirk - but not her death.

He will remain on licence for the rest of his life if he is freed from prison.