A bid to increase the minimum jail term given to the “predatory” killer of teenager Louise Smith has been rejected by Court of Appeal judges.
Shane Mays, 30, from Havant, Hampshire, lured the 16-year-old to a secluded spot in Havant Thicket on May 8 last year where he repeatedly punched her in the face, causing her fatal injuries.
He then defiled her with a stick before burning her body, which was found 13 days later following a major police search.
Mays was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 25 years, at Winchester Crown Court in December.
Solicitor General Michael Ellis QC referred Mays’ sentence to the Court of Appeal in January this year, describing his 25-year minimum term as “too low”.
At a hearing in London on Friday, William Emlyn Jones, representing the Solicitor General, described Louise’s killing as “a murder which lends itself to any number of hyperbolic adjectives” which was “an appalling offence”.
He argued Mays’ 25-year minimum term was “unduly lenient” and should be increased.
But Lord Justice Davis, sitting with two other judges, concluded the sentence should not be altered.
The judge said: “We fully understand the anguish this would have caused Louise’s family.”
However, he added: “As we see it, the (trial) judge conscientiously addressed her task and reached a conclusion which this court is in no position to say is unduly lenient.”
Mays’ trial heard Louise had moved in with him and his wife Chazlynn Jayne (CJ) Mays, the victim’s aunt, at the end of April after she had “quarrelled” with her mother.
Prosecutors described Louise, who was training to be a veterinary nurse, as “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”.
Winchester Crown Court heard Mays had persuaded Louise to walk with him to the woodland by offering her cannabis with the aim of sexually assaulting her.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Louise’s mother Rebbecca Cooper said: “You killed my daughter Louise in such a traumatic way but then to do what you did afterwards is beyond words.
“You are a monster.
“What gave you the right to do that?
“You damaged her so bad that I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye, hold her hand or even kiss her.
“I will never forgive you for this.”
She added: “You came to my house the day you killed her, looked me in the eyes with no remorse when you knew what you had done was pure evil.
“You have made us relive what you did to Louise.”
Passing sentence, Mrs Justice May said Mays was “in a position of trust in relation to Louise”, and that he “committed the most gross abuse of trust”.
Mays admitted Louise’s manslaughter but denied murder, telling the court he punched Louise “many” times to the face and had heard her bones “crack” after losing his temper.
He added: “I just carried on, I lost control of myself.
“She made a moaning noise, that’s when I stopped.”
Mays watched the Court of Appeal hearing over a video link from prison.