Court of Appeal to review ‘unduly lenient’ sentence of Louise Smith’s killer

Sam Tobin, PA

The “predatory” killer of teenager Louise Smith will have his “unduly lenient” jail sentence for her murder reviewed by the Court of Appeal.

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.

The 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”.

Shane Mays court case
Shane Mays who was found guilty at Winchester Crown Court of the murder of 16-year-old Louise Smith, who was ‘brutally’ killed in woodland in Havant, Hampshire (Hampshire Constabulary/PA)

At a hearing in London on Friday, lawyers representing Mr Ellis will ask the Court of Appeal to increase Mays’ sentence.

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.

Shane Mays court case
Louise Smith (Family handout/PA)

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.”

Shane Mays court case
Rebbecca Cooper, mother of Louise Smith, with partner Richard O’Shea outside Winchester Crown Court (Ben Mitchell/PA)

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.”

The hearing before Lord Justice Davis, Mr Justice William Davis and Judge Peter Lodder QC is expected to begin some time after 11am.

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