Louise Smith death: Heavy blows to the head inflicted on teenager

Louise Smith death: Heavy blows to the head inflicted on teenager

A man murdered a vulnerable teenager by inflicting heavy blows to her head before setting her body on fire, a court has heard.

The prosecution in the trial of Shane Mays said part of his motive for killing Louise Smith was “sexual”.

The badly burned body of the 16-year-old was found at Havant Thicket woodland in Hampshire on 21 May, 13 days after she vanished.

Mays, 30, denies murder but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

In his opening statement in the trial at Winchester Crown Court, prosecutor James Newton Price QC told the jury it was a “cruel and brutal murder”.

He said: “A determined attempt had been made to destroy her body, which was so badly burned and damaged by fire as to be unrecognisable.

“Her body has been subjected to extreme violence and violation, including repeated and heavy blows to her head.

“There are grounds to believe that part of the motivation for her murder was sexual.”

Louise was last seen alive on Somborne Drive in Leigh Park on 8 May – the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

The court was told she was a vulnerable child who took anti depressants, occasionally self harmed and had been allocated a social worker.

Mr Newton Price said Louise had gone to live with her aunt, who was married to Mays, at a one bed flat in Ringwood House, Leigh Park, in late April after a quarrel with her mother.

He told the jury Louise sent a message to Ms Mays saying: “I want to start calling you guys mum and dad but I do not want to make Shane uncomfortable.”

He said the arrangement deteriorated after Ms Mays imposed a curfew when she became unhappy with Louise smoking cannabis, bringing her boyfriend home and arriving late.

Louise later sent a message to a friend saying: “I can’t live here any more,” adding: “Long story, they are just vile.”

The prosecutor said after Louise disappeared Mays said he had walked her to a skatepark in Emsworth.

The jury was told they had in fact walked to Havant Thicket, where Mays killed Louise. He was then filmed on CCTV walking to his mother’s home.

Mr Newton Price said Mays was “sweaty and thirsty” on his arrival.

The court heard Mays repeated his story about walking to the skatepark with Louise when first arrested and questioned by police.

Mr Newton Price told jurors the defendant, from Somborne Drive in Leigh Park, had pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

“He has changed his story,” the prosecutor added,

The trial continues.

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