A MARRIED man bought pizzas just hours after smashing the skull of his wife’s 16-year-old niece with a log in a “sexually motivated” murder, a court heard.
Louise Smith’s “brutally beaten” and torched body was found “unrecognisable” in woodland near her home in Havant, Hants.
Her jaw bone was completely detached and her body was “burned and violated” during the “violent and unlawful” killing, it was said.
The teen had been missing for two weeks after staying at the one-bedroom Havant home of her aunt CJ Mays and her husband Shane Mays, who she called “mum and dad”.
Shane Mays, 30, has admitted to the manslaughter of aspiring veterinary nurse Louise but is currently on trial for murder.
Winchester Crown Court heard today how Mays was seen buying four Tesco pizzas just hours after Louise’s “cruel and brutal” murder on May 8.
Prosecutor James Newton-Price QC said: “He knows Louise is dead by this time.
“He knew he had killed her, he knew where the body was, but he plainly did not want to admit that or tell the police where the body was. He told a series of lies that were intended to deflect blame.”
There are grounds to believe that part of the motivation for her murder was sexual
Prosecutor James Newton-Price QC
Jurors heard today how Louise’s “severely decomposed” body was found on May 22.
A post-mortem showed “repeated blows from a heavy object such as a large branch or small log across her face”, it was said.
While her “defiled” body suggested Mays “had a sexual interest in her”, the jury was told.
Mr Newton-Price said her central facial skeleton was “shattered”.
But the court was told a post-mortem was unable to determine which of her injuries caused her death because of the damage caused by the fire.
Jurors also heard how Mays may have returned to the scene the next day to burn the body.
Mr Newton-Price QC said: “A determined attempt had been made to destroy her body. It was so badly burnt and damaged by fire as to be unrecognisable.
“Her body had been subjected to extreme violence and violation.
“This included repeated and heavy blows to her head.
“The bones and the structure of her face had been shattered.
“Her jawbone was completely detached from the skull. Her body had also been penetrated in a terrible way.”
He added: “There are grounds to believe that part of the motivation for her murder was sexual.”
The court heard how “easily-led” Louise had been staying with her aunt and Mays in the two weeks leading up to her death after rowing with her mum.
At first the trio “got on” and Louise wrote in texts to CJ how she wanted to call the pair “mum and dad” and spoke of their “perfect family”.
But jurors were told the relationship soured and Louise told a friend Mays was “flirting with her”.
A Snapchat video was also shown to jurors of Mays “tickling” Louise’s feet.
Mr Newton-Price said: “Louise Smith was a vulnerable child, she took antidepressants and occasionally she self-harmed.
“She lacked confidence and she suffered from anxiety issues that do affect some teenagers.
“In April this year, Louise quarrelled with her mother and she went to live for a time with other friends and family. In late April, Louise went to live with a lady called Chazlynn Mays and her husband Shane.
“At first the new arrangement went well. There seems to have been an incident of play-fighting and tickling with Shane Mays that took place not long after moving in.
“Certainly, initially Louise seemed to get on very well with both CJ and with Shane. The happy start did not last for very long.”
Timeline of Louise’s death
May 7 – Final CCTV images showed Louise walking with Mays from Tesco after getting ice
May 8, morning – Louise sends a Snapchat from her phone – the last-ever taken of the teen
May 8, 12pm – Phone evidence showed she left home and headed towards Havant Thicket. CJ later tells a pal she was seen leaving with Mays at midday.
May 8, 12.49pm – A final text is sent from Louise’s phone
May 8, 1pm – Louise’s phone pings to a phone mast in Havant Thicket
May 8, 3pm – Louise’s boyfriend arrives at the May house to meet her but she isn’t there. CJ ‘frantically’ calls her
May 8, 4.07pm – Mays goes out to buy pizza as CJ and Louise’s boyfriend look for her. He returns home at 5.02pm
May 8, 6.32pm – CJ calls the police and reports Louise missing
May 8, onwards – Mays and CJ are visited by police over the next few days. Mays tells officers he would “lock Louise in the bedroom if she returned” and asks if it was “ok to restrain her”.
May 21, 11.45am – Louise’s body is found in Havant Thicket
The day before her death on VE Day, the court heard how Louise had made plans to move in with a pal she met up with.
She text a friend later that night, saying: “I cannot live here anymore…long story…they are just vile.”
On May 8, she had been texting friends saying she had the “worst hangover going” before posting a selfie to Snapchat.
Jurors were told Mays and Louise had walked to Havant Thicket where the schoolgirl was killed after leaving home at midday.
The last message Louise sent before she died was at 12.49pm, it was said.
Mays then allegedly chucked the teen’s phone and case and was spotted on CCTV walking away from the scene.
He later showed up at his mum’s house where jurors heard he was “sweaty and thirsty”.
At 3pm, CJ called police when Louise failed to meet a friend.
Mays told both his mum and wife he had walked Louise to the skatepark when he had actually taken her to Havant Thicket where she was killed.
Mays said to CJ: “Louise takes the p***. She just made me walk all the way to Emsworth Skate Park.”
‘HE KNEW SHE WAS DEAD’
At 5pm that night, Mays went was seen on CCTV in Tesco buying four pizzas for him, CJ and Louise as his wife repeatedly called her niece.
Police visited CJ and Mays at home over the next few days in connection with “vulnerable” Louise’s disappearance.
While there, Mays said he would “lock” Louise in her bedroom if she returned and asked if it was “OK to restrain her”, the court heard.
Mays and his wife were arrested on suspicion of kidnap, with her alleged killer telling a “series of lies”.
After her body was found, Mays was charged with murder and his wife was freed on bail, it was said.
He originally told police he had walked with Louise to a skatepark in Emsworth, but later changed his version by admitting to causing her death at Havant Thicket, it was said.
Mays has an intermediary with him in the dock to help him understand proceedings as he “suffers from learning disabilities”.
He denies one charge of murder but admits manslaughter.
The trial continues tomorrow.