A man has been jailed for life with a minimum of 25 years for the murder of 16-year-old Louise Smith from Leigh Park.
Louise, who had been described as ‘smiley and generous’ by those close to her, was reported missing to police on Friday 8 May this year, before her body was discovered in an area of woodland at Havant Thicket 13 days later.
Following an extensive search of the area and an investigation by Hampshire Constabulary, 30-year-old Shane Lee Mays was arrested and later charged with Louise’s murder.
Despite admitting playing a part in Louise’s death and entering a guilty plea to manslaughter, Mays denied murder and the case proceeded to trial at Winchester Crown Court on Monday 16 November.
After deliberating for approximately two hours following the conclusion of the trial yesterday (Tuesday 8 December), the jury unanimously convicted Mays, of Somborne Drive in Leigh Park, of murder.
Sentencing Mays, Mrs Justice Juliet May said: “Every crime of murder not only ends one life, but grievously harms others.
“As [Louise’s] mother says, it is every mother’s worst nightmare.
“Shane Mays was in a position of trust. Theirs was like a father-daughter relationship, like he said at trial. That being so, in killing Louise he committed the most gross abuse of trust.”
Mrs Justice May commended the work of the Hampshire Constabulary investigation team involved in this case.
Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Adam Edwards, Senior Investigating Officer for the case, said: “This was a shocking attack on a vulnerable young girl which tragically resulted in her death.
“Mays has shown no remorse throughout this case, and has lied to police in a bid to deflect any blame for Louise’s murder away from himself.
“I am pleased that the jury were able to see through these lies, and he will now spend a considerable length of time in prison for what he has done.
“Our thoughts remain with all of Louise’s family and friends.”