Murdered teenager Louise Smith’s ‘predatory’ uncle is jailed for at least 25 years
The mother of murdered teenager Louise Smith has branded her daughter’s killer ‘pure evil’ as the 30-year-old was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 25 years.
Rebbecca Cooper said Shane Mays had ‘taken a part of my heart away’ by beating to death the 16-year-old in Havant, Hampshire, on VE Day.
Mays smirked as he sat in the dock to be sentenced at Winchester Crown Court today after being found guilty of murder yesterday.
The defendant lured the child 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.
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Shane Mays (left, in a mug shot released yesterday) bludgeoned Louise Smith (right, in a photo released by her family) to death by punching her repeatedly in the face until a part of her skull caved in
Earlier in the trial Mr Newton-Price QC had described how Mays had preyed on the slightly built teen, (pictured) who had hoped to become a veterinary nurse
Louise Smith’s mother, Rebbecca, yesterday spoke of her ‘unbelievable pain’ at not being able to see her daughter again. She is seen outside court with her partner, Richard O’Shea
Yellow tape representing a fallen tree trunk and an orange flag marking the spot in woodland at Havant Thicket in Hampshire, where police found Louise’s body
In a victim impact statement read to Winchester Crown Court, Ms Cooper said: ‘I am Louise’s mum.
‘This would be any parent’s worst nightmare and now it is my nightmare. This is one of the hardest, heartbreaking things I will ever have to do.
‘You have taken a part of my heart away which will never be replaced. 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?
‘You have left that scarred in my mind for the rest of my life. Now every time I think of her, I see the images shown in court.
‘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.
‘My daughter was 16, a child just starting her life. Louise was a very strong-willed girl, happy and smiley. She would have done anything for anyone.
‘She had the whole world to look forward to, college, new friends and being able to grow into the person she wanted. One of her dreams was to be a vet. She would have wanted to be a mum.
‘She would have made a great mum and yes, a better one than me at times. I wasn’t perfect but I was still her mum.
‘You have taken that dream away from her and us. At 16 years old, her life should have started, not ended.’
Louise’s father, Bradley Smith, (pictured on the right with his family – names not known), said: ‘We all find it impossible to accept that we will never hear her voice or see her cheeky smile again’
Mays attempted to burn her defiled body before heading home and casually buying a pizza in Iceland just hours later (pictured in a CCTV still)
She continued: ‘You have turned my life upside down. I can’t sleep, eat and my life is a mess. You did this to me, no-one else.
‘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. Louise will live on through us. The memories locked away in our hearts.’
The ‘vulnerable’ student had moved in with the defendant and his 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.
James Newton-Price QC, prosecuting, told the trial: ‘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.’
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: ‘Shane 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.
‘The sudden death of any person is tragic but the death of a vulnerable child is particularly grievous.’
Bradley Smith, who is separated from Louise’s mother said: ‘Since this tragic event my whole life has been turned upside down, I no longer enjoy any activities I used to do.
‘My interactions with other people are now rarer than ever and when they do occur they are very short-lived.
‘This has resulted in me being unable to function at work. My family is in absolute turmoil and we will be for the rest of our lives.
‘My mental and physical health has also been affected with being unable to sleep as I’m tortured by nightmares and I miss my little girl enormously, constantly.
‘I honestly don’t think I will ever recover from this. The best I can hope for is to cope better and I’m positive my family feel the same way.
‘Louise was a beautiful daughter and I have been robbed of what was to be my time with her.’
Mays, an unemployed 30-year-old, who spent nine-hours a day playing his X-Box games console, (right with his wife, Chazlynn Jayne Mays) covered his tracks by joining in a huge search for the teenager
Louise’s stepfather Richard O’Shea said: ‘I am Louise’s stepfather and her mother’s fiance. What you have done has destroyed my life.
‘I may only be Louise’s stepdad but for nine years she has grown up with me and her mum Becky.
‘She had grown up into such a beautiful and smart young lady and it was a pleasure to call her my stepdaughter.
‘We were going to be celebrating her 17th in August but you took that away from her and us too.
‘Becky and I are engaged and Louise was so excited to be a bridesmaid. She had even picked out her dress for the occasion. You took that away from her.
‘I hate seeing my fiancee cry every night because she won’t see her daughter walk through our front door again.
‘We won’t get to hear her laugh or smile. You even tried to stop Louise from seeing us.
‘You have made me physically sick with what you have done. I can no longer eat. I find it very hard to sleep in the night due to the nightmares which causes me to sleep-in very late into the morning.
‘I can’t talk to anyone about how I am feeling. I hardly go out but when I manage to get out I panic leaving Becky on her own.
‘Our life is now on hold and has left a large void. Because of this our family are struggling and it feels like we are being torn apart at the seams. You have wrecked our lives and made it hell.’
Mays, who admitted taking hard drugs, like ecstasy and cocaine, in the past had been given a caution for assaulting another boy in 2005 when he was 14-years-old
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.
He said: ‘I just carried on, I lost control of myself. She made a moaning noise, that’s when I stopped.’
Louise’s blood was found on Mays’s 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.