A man accused of killing his “vulnerable” teenage niece with “unimaginable cruelty” has admitted killing her after “losing his temper” but denies murder, a court has heard.
Shane Mays, of Havant, Hampshire, has also denied defiling 16-year-old Louise Smith’s body and setting it on fire.
Mays, 30, is on trial at Winchester Crown Court charged with the murder of Louise, who disappeared on VE Day. Her body was found 13 days later in woodland at Havant Thicket.
The court heard evidence on Wednesday from Louise’s boyfriend, Bradley Kercher, who told how he told her “I love you” and gave her a kiss the last time he saw her alive.
Mays, who a court heard had ‘sexual motivation’ to kill the teenager, has admitted the manslaughter of the teenager.
Louise had been living with him and his wife, Chazlynn Jayne Mays, known as CJ Mays, who was the cousin of Louise’s mother as well as the victim’s aunt.
The court has heard that Louise suffered multiple blows to her head.
Her body, which was set alight, was also “defiled” with a stick.
James Newton-Price QC, prosecuting, told the court that DNA found on the stick was 38 million times more likely to have come from the defendant than someone else.
He added that Louise’s blood was also found on Mays’ trainers.
Mr Newton-Price said: “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 attack 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 jaw bone indicated multiple blows to her head.”
He added: “There was background evidence that Louise was unhappy in the care of Shane Mays and his wife and she, an adolescent, was drinking heavily on the night before she disappeared.
“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.
“Shane Mays was the last person to see her alive, he was alone with her that afternoon.”
Andrew Langdon QC, representing Mays, said that the defendant admitted causing Louise’s death but he had “attacked” her after “losing control of his temper”.
He told the jury: “By his plea of manslaughter, Mr Mays accepts that on Friday 8th of May, having walked with Louise to Havant Thicket he attacked her.
“His case is he did so because of an argument which resulted in his losing control of his temper.
“He repeatedly punched her and he accepts that his attack on her would have caused or contributed to her subsequent death.”
He added Mays did not intend to “kill her or to cause her really serious injury”and “he didn’t set fire to her.”
Mr Kercher, Louise’s boyfriend, was 17 when he last saw her alive, and claims she told him she ‘had enough’ of living with Mays and CJ.
Mr Kercher, who is now 18, said: “On the Thursday [the day before she disappeared], I said goodbye to her, told her I love her and gave her a kiss and a cuddle. That was the last time I saw her.”
He claims she and Mays had been flirting with each other.
He told the court: “The way Louise was speaking about Shane, it was like he was flirting with her. He put his arm around her, tickled her, pinned her down, things like that.
“Shane said he feels like Louise was flirting with him. They were both saying that both were flirting with one another but both denying it. I brushed it aside.”
On May 8, Mr Kercher knew something was wrong when Louise failed to answer her phone because she was “always on it”.
Mr Kercher and CJ had been told by Mays that he walked her three miles to a skate part in Emsworth, but Mr Kercher found it strange because ‘it was too far’.
He added: “CJ phoned her and her phone just kept ringing, ringing and ringing.
“She kept trying to call her but when she didn’t pick up I knew something had happened and I knew I needed to get up to the skate park to see her.
“Emsworth was too far, she didn’t know anyone there. It was unusual behaviour for Louise… When Shane said she went there it didn’t make sense in my head.
“Then her phone would not answer, it didn’t add up.”
Mr Kercher claims Louise was unhappy at home.
He added: “She told me she had enough of the way Shane was speaking to her and the way she was being treated.
“Louise text me that she didn’t like the way Shane spoke to her… She said he speaks to her like s***.”
Mays denies murder and the trial continues.