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The mother of murdered teenager Louise Smith branded her daughter’s killer “pure evil” as the 30-year-old was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 25 years.
Shane Mays, from Hampshire in the UK, smirked as he sat in the dock to be sentenced at Winchester Crown Court after being found guilty of the May 8 murder of the 16-year-old.
The defendant, described by prosecutors as “predatory”, lured the teen to the secluded spot in Havant Thicket where he repeatedly punched her in the face, causing her fatal injuries.
He then defiled her with a stick before burning her body, which was found 13 days later following a major police search.
The “vulnerable” student had moved in with the defendant and wife Chazlynn Jayne (CJ) Mays – the victim’s aunt – at the end of April after she had “quarrelled” with her mother, the court was told.
But arguments broke out between the trio and Louise complained to her boyfriend, Bradley Kercher, that Mays would “flirt” with her and pin her down, and the jury was shown a Snapchat video of him tickling her feet.
“Louise was just 16, she was anxious, needy, fragile and vulnerable, vulnerable to the attentions of a predatory man who was apparently flirting with her and living in the same small flat,” James Newton-Price QC, who was prosecuting, told the trial.
He suggested Mays had persuaded Louise to walk with him to the woodland by offering her cannabis with the aim of sexually assaulting her.
The judge, Mrs Justice May, said Mays “was in a position of trust in relation to Louise; theirs was like a father-daughter relationship”.
“That being, he committed the most gross abuse of trust. I am not persuaded his learning disability tempered this in any way as Shane Mays plainly recognised Louise was young, had mental health difficulties and was in his and CJ’s care,” she said.
“The sudden death of any person is tragic, but the death of a vulnerable child is particularly grievous.”
‘You’re a monster’: Mum’s heartbreaking words
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Louise’s mother Rebbecca Cooper expressed the devastation felt over her daughter’s death.
“You killed my daughter Louise in such a traumatic way, but then to do what you did afterwards is beyond words. You are a monster. What gave you the right to do that?” she said.
“You damaged her so bad that I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye, hold her hand or even kiss her. I will never forgive you for this.
“You came to my house the day you killed her, looked me in the eyes with no remorse when you knew what you had done was pure evil. You have made us relive what you did to Louise.”
She described her daughter, who wanted to be a veterinary nurse, as “happy and smiley” who “had the world to look forward to”.
‘Punched her face and heard her bones crack’
Louise’s father Bradley Smith said he was “tortured by nightmares”.
“Louise was a beautiful daughter, and I have been robbed of what was to be my time with her,” he said.
Mays, who admitted manslaughter, told the court he punched Louise “many” times to the face and had heard her bones “crack” after losing his temper.
“I just carried on, I lost control of myself. She made a moaning noise, that’s when I stopped,” he said.
Louise’s blood was found on Mays’ trainer and a billion-to-one DNA match to him was found on the stick.
The court heard a clinical review of the defendant found he had an “extremely low” IQ of 63, putting him in the bottom one percentile of people.
Mays told the court he had not worked for five years and spent nine hours a day playing video games.
Andrew Langdon QC, representing Mays, said the defendant had been assessed as having learning difficulties and a personality disorder.
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