Body of teenager was found burned and ‘unrecognisable’ in woodland after killing

Louise Smith’s body was found in Havant Thicket earlier this year (Image: PA)

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The body of a "vulnerable" 16-year-old girl was left in an 'unrecognisable' state in woodland, a court heard.

Shane Mays, of Havant, Hampshire, is on trial at Winchester Crown Court charged with the murder of Louise Smith, who disappeared on VE Day this year.

Her body was found 13 days later partially burned in woodland at Havant Thicket, Hampshire Live reported.

James Newton-Price QC, prosecuting, today told the court that she was the victim of a "cruel and brutal murder."

He said: "Her body was found in Havant Thicket at 11.45am on May 21 following an extensive search by Hampshire Police.

Officers found Louise 13 days after she went missing
(Image: Steve Reigate Daily Express)

"Louise had been missing for 13 days by then, a determined attempt had been made to destroy her body.

"It was so badly burned and damaged by fire as to be unrecognisable.

"Her body had been subjected to extreme violence, this included repeated and heavy blows to her head.

"The bones and the structure of her face had been shattered, her jaw bone was completely detached from the skull.

"Her body had also been penetrated in a terrible way that I will have to describe.

Shane Mays has admitted manslaughter but denies murder
(Image: HNP Picture Desk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

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

The 30-year-old defendant has admitted the manslaughter of the teenager, but he denies murder.

At the time of her death Louise had been living with Mays 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.

Mr Newton-Price told the court that Louise had been living with the couple in their one-bedroom flat after "quarrelling" in April with her mother, Rebecca Cooper.

Louise's body was found in an area of woodland near to where she lived
(Image: HNP Newsdesk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

The prosecutor said that Louise disappeared on May 8 and Ms Mays reported her missing later that afternoon.

On VE Day on May 8 earlier this year, Mays allegedly led the 'vulnerable and impressionable' college student to woodland site Havant Thicket, and murdered her.

He stopped in at his mum's house on the way back while he was 'sweaty and thirsty' and later 'lied' to police by telling them he walked her to a skate park three miles away, the prosecution said.

Mr Newton-Price explained that a particular route to the Thicket would not be picked up on CCTV.

The teenager was living with her aunt and Mays when she went missing
(Image: HNP Newsdesk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

He said that this was the case and Louise was last pictured alive on May 7.

He said: "We suggest that Louise went to Havant Thicket with Shane Mays, or she met him at some point after 1pm and they walked there together.

"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."

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

The murder trial is being heard at Winchester Crown Court
(Image: PA)

Her injuries were so severe that a pathologist was unable to conclude which of them was the fatal one.

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

The prosecutor submitted that there was evidence to suggest that Mays had a "sexual interest" in the teenager, and that this may have formed part of the motivation for the killing.

When the body was found, a stick was found that had been put inside her.

Mr Newton-Price told the court that Mays threw Louise's phone into the woodland after he had killed her.

He submitted that it was "likely" the defendant returned to the scene in the later days and attempted to burn the body.

Upon discovery, several sticks were found piled on top of Louise's body.

A lighter was also found at the scene.

In total, there were 19 separate injuries to Louise's body.

The trial continues.

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