Louise Smith death: Shane Mays admits attack after 'losing temper'

image copyrightFamily photos
image captionLouise Smith was reported missing on 8 May

A man accused of murdering a "vulnerable" teenage girl has admitted attacking her after "losing his temper", a court has heard.

The badly burned body of Louise Smith, who was 16, was found at Havant Thicket woodland in Hampshire on 21 May, 13 days after she vanished.

Shane Mays, 30, denies murder but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

His defence barrister told his trial at Winchester Crown Court "he did not intend to kill her".

The court previously heard prosecutor James Newton-Price QC claim that Mr Mays inflicted heavy blows to the teenager's head before setting her body on fire.

He said part of his motive for killing Louise was "sexual".

Louise had gone to live with her aunt, who was married to Mays, at a one-bed flat in Ringwood House, Leigh Park, in late April after a quarrel with her mother, it was heard on Tuesday.

image copyrightFamily photo
image captionLouise had moved in with her aunt, who was married to Shane Mays, at their one-bed flat in Leigh Park

She was last seen alive on Somborne Drive in Leigh Park on 8 May - the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Her body was found 13 days later.

On the second day of the trial, Mr Newton-Price said DNA evidence linked Mr Mays to the crime scene and Louise's blood was found on his trainers.

He told the jury: "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.

"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."

Andrew Langdon QC, representing Mr Mays, told the court his client admitted causing Louise's death but he had attacked her after "losing control of his temper" after an argument.

"He repeatedly punched her and he accepts that his attack on her would have caused or contributed to her subsequent death.

"But he did not intend to kill her or to cause her really serious injury," he said.

He said the defendant denied that he set Louise's body on fire.

A police interview with Louise's boyfriend, Bradley Kercherin, was shown in court in which he said she had told him Mr Mays had "flirted" with her.

The 18-year-old said: "He would put his arm round her and he would tickle her and pin her down, things like that.

"Shane basically said he feels Louise is flirting with him, they are both saying that either is flirting with each other but both are denying it."

The trial continues.

image captionThe teenager's body was discovered in Havant Thicket

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