Teenager Louise Smith’s body ‘unrecognisable’ after ‘brutal killing’

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The body of tragic teenager Louise Smith was "unrecognisable" when it was discovered in woodland after she had been subjected to a "brutal" killing, a court has heard.

Shane Mays killed the 16-year-old in May, hiding her body in the Havant Thicket area in Hampshire.

Her "brutally beaten" and torched body was discovered 13 days after she went missing HampshireLive reports.

Mays, 30, who is married to one of the teenager's aunts, admits manslaughter but has denied murder during his trial at Winchester Crown Court.

The jury heard how Louise had been living with her aunt, CJ, and Mays in Havant. She had been there since April after falling out with her mother and leaving home.

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She was described as being "vulnerable and impressionable".

The prosecution claims Louise and Mays headed to the wooded area together on May 8.

Prosecutor James Newton-Price QC said a particular route would not be picked up on CCTV.

He said: "Shane Mays knew Havant Thicket well, there must have been some reason or some inducement for her to walk up there with him, but we cannot say what that is.

"Shane Mays did not carry a mobile phone so we cannot track his movements in that time."

Mr Mays told his wife and Louise's boyfriend that he had walked the teenager to a skate park before returning home. The prosecution alleges he repeated his lie to the police.

The court also heard Mays bought four pizzas from Tesco just hours after Louise was killed.

Her body was found by Hampshire Constabulary, looking as if it had been "torched", about 40 metres off of the track in the wood, following a search by officers.

The prosecution describes it as a "cruel and brutal murder", with the teenager left barely recognisable as a result of her injuries.

They included repeated heavy blows to the head and were so severe a pathologist was unable to conclude which was the fatal one. She suffered 19 injuries in total.

Mr Newton-Price said: "It's abundantly clear that Louise Smith suffered a violent and unlawful death and that her body has been burned and violated."

The prosecution says there is evidence suggesting Mays had a "sexual interest" in Louise, and may have formed part of his motivation for the killing.

Mr Newton-Price said Mays threw Louise's phone into the woodland after he had killed her, claiming it was "likely" he returned to the scene later and attempted to burn the body.

Several sticks were found piled on top of the teenager's body, while a lighter was also discovered at the scene.

During police interviews, Mays was said to have told "a series of lies that were intended to deflect blame" and give a "completely untrue" account of Louise's disappearance.

The trial continues.

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