United Kingdom

Louise Smith's uncle told police he would 'lock away' girl if he found her after she disappeared

Shane Mays made 'bizarre comments' and appeared 'spaced out' when detectives investigating his 16-year-old niece Louise Smith's disappearance came to visit, a jury was told. Pictured: CCTV of Mays the afternoon of the alleged murder

The alleged killer of teenager Louise Smith told police 'he really wanted to find her' but would 'lock her away' when he did, a court heard today.

The 30-year-old told officers he liked having a 'laugh and a joke' with Louise but admitted he had a habit of 'winding people up'.

Winchester Crown Court heard today that  Mays claimed Louise Smith told him her mother 'was trying to kidnap her' and the 16-year-old had said a 'lot of things in the past to get people into trouble'.

In police interview after his arrest Mays attempted to blame the teenager's disappearance on her mother Rebecca Cooper, who she had a difficult relationship with. Mays also told detectives 'Louise could be anywhere' before saying he 'would love to know where she is'.

A transcript of the interview was read out to court in which Mays said: 'I don't know she could be. She could be at her friends house, she could be anywhere.' 

The court heard DC Luke Donovan then asked him if he has kidnapped Louise and is holding her somewhere. Mays replied: 'No. We'd rather just find her bring her home. Make sure she is alright.' 

The next day, after spending a night in the cells, the court heard Mays claimed he had remembered Louise telling him about a 'plot' to have her kidnapped. He said: 'Louise and her boyfriend told me and my wife that she had a message from her mum saying about her being kidnapped. 

'I'm not sure if it is a [text] message or anything. I don't know if you can pull deleted messages up. 

'All I got told was there was big argument with Louise's mum and someone else saying Louise's mum was going to kidnap her and others. 

'Louise causes a lot of trouble. I don't know why they would say something like that. 'It was something to do with a white van…Louise has said a lot of things in the past to get people into trouble…' 

He continued: 'I don't know where she is, otherwise I would have told you. 

'I would love to know where she is. I just don't know. Everywhere I have looked there is no sign of her. I have not taken Louise and have nothing to do with her going missing.' 

'Typical teenager' Louise - who only started living with Mays and his wife CJ two weeks before - was found with her skull smashed, her body 'terribly' defiled, and was burned in what has been described as a 'cruel and brutal' murder

Body cam footage of the moment CJ Mays, who was also initially arrested on suspicion of kidnap before being released without charge, was also shown to court. 

The video shows Shane Mays asking the police officers 'Is it just her then?' After being informed he too will be taken into custody, a tearful and distressed CJ goes into the bedroom to get dressed. The court also heard that prior to her husband's arrest CJ had told an officer her husband and Louise 'didn't talk much' as Shane would always try and make jokes. 

DS Sharon Lewry said: 'Shane would always make a joke even if Louise was feeling down he would make a joke. This wouldn't always go down well with Louise.' 

Winchester Crown Court previously heard aspiring veterinary nurse Louise vanished in Havant, Hampshire, at 12.49pm on May 8, having been 'lured' one and a half miles away to the murder scene at Havant Thicket by Mays.

'Typical teenager' Louise - who only started living with Mays and his wife CJ two weeks before - was found with her skull smashed, her body 'terribly' defiled, and was burned in what has been described as a 'cruel and brutal' murder.

Mays has been branded a 'predator' by prosecutor James Newton-Price QC who said he took advantage of Louise's 'mental fragility' before killing her.

Hampshire Police Detective Constable Pete Bambury, who went to May's flat on May 12, said: '[Shane] said virtually nothing. Absolutely nothing.

'He said he had a good relationship [with Louise] but he knew she contacted boys a lot on social media.

'He said he really wanted to find her and if he found her he would lock her into the address until police arrived.

'I found it really strange. It was a bizarre comment and I said you shouldn't be doing that. The first thing you should be doing is calling the police.'

Another officer, DC Emma Joiner spoke to Mays at the couple's flat a day later.

She said: 'At about 4pm on May 8 CJ asked Shane to go and look for Louise.

'She said he returned at about 08.00pm before going out to look for Louise again and returned at 02.00am in the morning.

'She said her husband never knew how to talk to Louise.

'[When I spoke to him] Shane appeared spaced out. Eye contact wasn't made. It was almost like he wasn't in the room.

'He said he would have a laugh and a joke with Louise and had a habit of winding people up.

'In my opinion Shane appeared to be 'under the thumb'. He had no phone of his own, he used CJ's bank card.'

The court heard that his wife - full name Chazlynn Jayne Mays - said her husband 'never knew how to talk' to the teenager who suffered with depression and anxiety.

The court heard that his wife - full name Chazlynn Jayne Mays - said her husband 'never knew how to talk' to the teenager who suffered with depression and anxiety. Pictured: Mays with wife Chazlynn at their wedding

The jury was played a phone call made to police by CJ, in which she said she was getting 'really worried' about 'extremely vulnerable' Louise.

In the call, made at 6.32pm, six-and-a-half hours since Louise left the flat on the day she went missing, CJ 'did all the talking'.

In a recording of the 101 call played to court, CJ said: 'Today she said she was going to meet her friend to get some clothes and she hasn't returned and now she has turned her phone off…

'She was telling a fib because I messaged a friend and she hadn't spoke to her.

'She has mental health issues. Depression, anxiety...'

She said she was concerned that Louise may have harmed herself but admitted it wasn't unusual for the troubled teen to run away and switch her phone off.

She said she didn't think Louise had been talking to any adults who might harm her and described her as 'happy' on the day she went missing.

Another police officer, DI Nicola Burton, who went back to the Mays to try and understand Louise's final movements, said: 'The [Mays] were calm and engaged throughout answered all my questions.

'I didn't get a feeling they were overly concerned about her being missing.'

Deep inside the vast woodland site of Havant Thicket, Mays smashed Louise's skull with repeated blows, defiled her body in a 'terrible way', and later returned to torch the body, the court previously heard.

Mays denies murder but admits manslaughter, claiming he attacked her with a series of punches after he 'lost his temper' during an argument.

He claims he did not defile or set fire to Louise.

The trial continues.

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