Woman who died 21 years after being set alight ‘funny and witty’, family say

A mother-of-two who died 21 years after being set alight has been described as “funny and witty” by her family.

Jacqueline Kirk, known as Jackie, suffered horrendous injuries after the attack by her then-partner Steven Craig in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, in April 1998.

She was in hospital for nine months and suffered burns to 35% of her body, requiring a tracheotomy and operations including skin grafts.

Ms Kirk died from a ruptured diaphragm at the Royal United Hospital in Bath in August 2019. She was 61.

On Friday, Craig was convicted of her murder following a three-week trial at Bristol Crown Court.

Her daughter Sonna paid tribute to her “strong-willed, strong-minded” mother, who was opinionated, “funny and witty”.

“She was determined to be herself again,” Sonna said.

“It was a hard road. My brother spent a long time with her, supporting her. She rekindled old friendships.

“That made a big, big difference because they helped her be the Jackie she was, and not a victim.

“We didn’t want her to be this person who suffered all these horrible things, we wanted her to build her life and be herself again.”

Sonna said her mother loved being outdoors and had a puppy, Molly, who she would walk a couple of times each day.

She praised the emergency services who treated Ms Kirk after the attack, as well as medical staff over the years.

“We were told that my mum wasn’t going to survive, the day we were told about the incident,” she said.

“Then we were told she wasn’t going to recover. As time went on she was finally released from hospital nine months later.

“She went in and out of hospital after that. We were told she probably wouldn’t survive after 10 years.

“So we made the most of it. Those 10 years came and went. She had her 50th birthday, which we never thought was going to happen.

“Then she had her 60th birthday. She got to see her son get married and have a child. She got to see me get married and have children.

“That was really important to us, to have our mum for those life events.”