How ‘predator’ uncle with ‘extremely low IQ’ lured teen to death before burning her body

How ‘predator’ uncle with ‘extremely low IQ’ lured teen to death before burning her body

 

A ‘predator’ uncle with an ‘extremely low IQ’ lured his 16-year-old niece to a woodland before brutally killing her and burning her body.

Shane Mays broke every bone in Louise Smith’s face and then defiled her with a stick in Havant Thicket in Havant, Hants, on VE Day.

Her charred remains were found in the woods on May 21 after she had been missing for almost two weeks, sparking a huge police search.

Mays who was married to Louise’s aunt, was found guilty of murder at Winchester Crown Court today.

The 30-year-old, who had entered the witness box in his own defence and denied intending to kill Louise, claimed he had “genuinely forgotten” he had killed Louise.

The killer said he only remembered when he was in prison in Bristol after being held in custody by murder squad detectives some weeks later.

After the jury unanimously convicted Mays of murder, he showed no visible emotion but sat in his grey prison jumper and looked forward, although an audible gasp could be heard around the court.

Mrs Justice May DBE, who had presided over the trial, told jurors: “Members of the jury, we ask a lot in cases like this of our citizens. You cannot have imagined when the jury summons came through your door that you would be sitting on a case like this.”

Although asked to sentence straight away by both prosecution and defence counsel, the High Court judge retired and said she would read victim impact statements from Louise’s mother, father and step-father.

When Louise Smith went missing, the local area of Leigh Park became awash with missing posters and leaflets bearing pictures of her in a blue prom dress.

Her face was beamed around the world in news stories after her body was found and details of her death were revealed during the trial of Mays, which started on November 16.

The lawyer defending Mays had warned the High Court judge that a planned site visit, which involved busing the jury down to Leigh Park, could pose risks to his client’s safety, stating “feelings run very high in the locality”. Such were the concerns that Hampshire Constabulary was asked to have a large police escort block off certain roads.

Jurors were taken on a route which meant they avoided passing the home of Rebbeca Jayne Cooper, Louise’s mother, whose house had been covered in photos of Louise in her prom dress and now stood as a makeshift shrine to the murdered teenager.

Louise had been classed as a “vulnerable child” due to a history of self-harming, the use of anti-depressant medication and a volatile relationship with her mother.

After a particularly bad argument with her mum, which was partly about her boyfriend Bradley Kercher, Louise went to stay with another aunt before being taken in by Chazlynn Mays, known as CJ, who boasted that she was “the stronger auntie”.

In reality CJ was herself an unemployed woman who lived off Employment Support Allowance and did not like to venture outside of her one-bedroom flat in Somborne Drive.

Her main pastime was managing the affairs of her dependent husband, Shane Mays, whose phone, social media accounts and spending money she controlled.

The court heard that a clinical review of the defendant found he had an “extremely low” IQ of 63, putting him in the bottom one percentile of people.

He also scored in the 0.1 percentile range of memory, which tests his ability for retaining information over a short period

Mays spent each day playing nine hours of Xbox video games and spending his £50 allowance dished out by CJ in whichever way he wished – until Louise Smith arrived at the flat.

From the day Louise moved in with him on April 26 this year, Shane initiated bizarre play fighting games with her, one of which Louise captured in a video she sent to her boyfriend Bradley.

In a message, Louise had said: “Sorry babe, Shane just attacked me and started tickling my foot and s***. I was crying with laughter.”

Later messages between Louise and her friends showed evidence of rising tensions, as CJ barred Louise’s boyfriend from staying at the home and Shane Mays warned Louise that if she did not start helping around the house, then he would start to “get stricter” with her.

Louise, who was said to live through her phone, had told a number of online friends “they are just vile” and vowed to leave the Mays’ home, which she did on May 7 by going missing.

When she returned, she and the Mays were captured on CCTV going to the local shops to buy Rum, peach Schnapps and a number of sweets, which prosecutors suggested was an attempt by Shane Mays to get Louise drunk so he could sexually touch her.

The next day, for reasons unknown, Mays and Louise walked together into Havant Thicket where he killed her. He claimed he had punched her repeatedly, kneeling over her body to deliver powerful blows until he heard her bones crack.

Following her death, Louise, who was training to be a veterinary nurse, was described by her family as a “smiley, generous person”.

They added: “Louise had beautiful blue eyes, a cheeky smile and was known for her kindness to others. She loved animals and had a sarcastic sense of humour.”

Mays had admitted manslaughter but denied raping her and making a hole in her stomach because he was worried he had made her pregnant, or putting a stick in her body and burning her, all of which the prosecution alleged.

However, the jury convicted him of the only offence he was charged with, one count of murder, for which he was due to receive a mandatory life sentence.

Mays was remanded in custody until tomorrow morning when he will be sentenced.

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