Uncle admits killing niece Louise Smith, 16, by 'repeatedly punching' her after 'losing his temper'
18th November 2020

AN UNCLE has admitted killing his 16-year-old niece because he "lost his temper" but denies her "sexually-motivated" murder, a court heard.

Shane Mays, 30, said he "repeatedly punched" Louise Smith, whose "brutally beaten" and torched body was found in woodland in Havant.


But he denied intending to kill the aspiring veterinary nurse, who had been staying at his home with his wife CJ Mays.

Winchester Crown Court how Louise's jaw bone was completely detached and her body was "burned and violated" with "breathtaking brutality".

A post-mortem showed "repeated blows from a heavy object such as a large branch or small log across her face", it was said.

The court was told Mays, who admits manslaughter but denies murder, accepts attacking the teen after a row as his defence was heard for the first time today.

'LOST CONTROL'

Andrew Langdon QC, said: "By his plea of manslaughter, Shane Mays accepts that on May 8, having walked with Louise he attacked her.

"His case is that he did so because of an argument which resulted in him losing control of his temper.

"He repeatedly punched her and he accepts that his attack on her caused or contributed to her subsequent death.

"He didn't intend to kill her or to cause really serious injury. He did not set fire to her."

Jurors heard how on May 8, the "predator" lured Louise to Havant Thicket after taking advantage of the girl's "mental fragility".

While there, he then allegedly smashed her skull in with a log and later returned to "destroy" her body.

She was discovered two weeks later "severely decomposed".

'UNIMAGINABLE CRUELTY'

Blood splatters were later found on his trainers that were "one billion times more likely to be from Louise than anyone else".

The court was told the splatter was consistent with Mays punching Louise repeatedly either while she was standing or on the ground.

Prosecutor James Newton-Price QC said: "The burned and decomposed state of Louise's body was such that we cannot say exactly which of her multiple injuries caused her death, but it is clear that her killer lured or persuaded her to walk to a remote location where he attacked her.

"We say you can conclude that this was an act of unimaginable cruelty towards a vulnerable 16 year old girl.

"The shattering of the bones and the structure of her face, including the complete detachment of her jawbone, indicates multiple blows to her head.

"Louise Smith was just 16."

Timeline of Louise’s death

May 7 – Final CCTV images showed Louise walking with Mays from Tesco after getting ice

May 8, morning – Louise sends a Snapchat from her phone – the last-ever taken of the teen

May 8, 12pm – Phone evidence showed she left home and headed towards Havant Thicket. CJ later tells a pal she was seen leaving with Mays at midday.

May 8, 12.49pm – A final text is sent from Louise's phone

May 8, 1pm – Louise's phone pings to a phone mast in Havant Thicket

May 8, 3pm – Louise's boyfriend arrives at the May house to meet her but she isn't there. CJ 'frantically' calls her

May 8, 4.07pm – Mays goes out to buy pizza as CJ and Louise's boyfriend look for her. He returns home at 5.02pm

May 8, 6.32pm – CJ calls the police and reports Louise missing

May 8, onwards – Mays and CJare visited by police over the next few days. Mays tells officers he would "lock Louise in the bedroom if she returned" and asks if it was "ok to restrain her".

May 21, 11.45am – Louise's body is found in Havant Thicket

Jurors previously heard how "easily-led" Louise had been staying with her aunt and Mays in the two weeks leading up to her death after rowing with her mum.

At first the trio "got on" and Louise wrote in texts to CJ how she wanted to call the pair "mum and dad" and spoke of their "perfect family".

But jurors were told the relationship soured and Louise told a friend Mays was "flirting with her".

A Snapchat video was also shown to jurors of Mays "tickling" Louise's feet.

Mr Newton-Price said: "Louise Smith was a vulnerable child, she took antidepressants and occasionally she self-harmed.

"She lacked confidence and she suffered from anxiety issues that do affect some teenagers."

The day before her death on VE Day, the court heard how Louise had made plans to move in with a pal she met up with.

She text a friend later that night, saying: "I cannot live here anymore…long story…they are just vile."

On May 8, she had been texting friends saying she had the "worst hangover going" before posting a final selfie to Snapchat.


Jurors were told Mays and Louise had walked to Havant Thicket where the schoolgirl was killed after leaving home at midday.

The last message Louise sent before she died was at 12.49pm, it was said.

Mays then allegedly chucked the teen's phone and case and was spotted on CCTV walking away from the scene.

He later showed up at his mum's house where jurors heard he was "sweaty and thirsty".

At 3pm, CJ called police when Louise failed to meet a friend.

While she "frantically" tried to reach her niece, Mays was CCTV in Tesco buying four pizzas for him, CJ and Louise.



Police visited CJ and Mays at home over the next few days in connection with "vulnerable" Louise's disappearance.

While there, Mays said he would "lock" Louise in her bedroom if she returned and asked if it was "OK to restrain her", the court heard.

Mays and his wife were arrested on suspicion of kidnap, with her alleged killer telling a "series of lies".

After her body was found, Mays was charged with murder and his wife was freed on bail, it was said.

He originally told police he had walked with Louise to a skatepark in Emsworth, but later changed his version by admitting to causing her death at Havant Thicket, it was said.

Mays has an intermediary with him in the dock to help him understand proceedings as he "suffers from learning disabilities".

He denies one charge of murder but admits manslaughter.

The trial continues.




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