James Newton-Price QC and Andrew Houston have successfully prosecuted Shane Mays for the murder of 16 year old Louise Smith who was his wife’s niece. The trial attracted widespread attention in local and national news media. On 8 May 2020, Mays lured Louise to a secluded clearing in the woods near Havant in Hampshire where he killed her by repeatedly striking blows to her head. He also violated her body sexually then returned to the scene to attempt to burn her body. A major missing persons inquiry and search commenced when she failed to return home to meet her boyfriend. Mays lied to the police about taking her to a skate park and denied killing her. Louise’s body was eventually found 13 days later on 21 May. The Prosecution presented harrowing evidence of the state of her body and her injuries at the trial before Mrs Justice May at Winchester Crown Court. The Judge and Jury were taken to the scene of the killing during the trial. The Jury convicted Mays of murder on 8 December 2020. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 25 years before he can be considered for release. The Judge described his actions as ‘grotesque’ and a ‘gross breach of trust’. The case was notable for the brutality of the killing and the thorough police investigation which tracked the movements of the perpetrator and the victim with CCTV and mobile telephone evidence.
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