United Kingdom

Uncle talked about taking anger management before bludgeoning his niece to death, court hears

An uncle who allegedly murdered his 16-year-old niece talked about taking anger management training before bludgeoning her to death in the woods 'in a sexually motivated assault', a court has heard today. 

Shane Mays, 30, is on trial accused of killing Louise Smith, whose fire-damaged body was found 'defiled and burned' 13 days after she went missing. 

Chazlynn Jayne Mays, known as CJ Mays, who is the cousin of Louise's mother as well as the victim's aunt, had previously complained to her friends about her husband Shane's outbursts of anger in the months leading up to the death.

Louise, an aspiring veterinary nurse, vanished on May 8, sparking a huge police hunt in Havant Thicket, Hampshire. Her body was found on May 21 in an area of woodland and she had suffered multiple blows to her head.  

Louise Smith (pictured above), 16, vanished on May 8, sparking a huge police hunt in Havant Thicket, Hampshire. Her body was found on May 21 in an area of woodland

Shane Mays, 30, is on trial accused of killing Louise Smith, whose fire-damaged body was found 'defiled and burned' 13 days after she went missing

As the trial at Winchester Crown Court enters its third week, Shane was charged with murder and the jury was told he had no previous convictions.

Reading from a list of agreed facts, junior prosecuting counsel Andrew Houston said: 'The only matters recorded against him [Mays] are a reprimand for an assault dated June 9 2005, aged 14 years and a caution for theft dated May 23 2009, aged 19 years.'

But the jury was told about a text conversation between CJ and a friend on March 9 this year, when Mrs Mays texted just before midnight to say: 'He has left. ??. You awake?'

The following day, when her friend asked if Shane had returned home, CJ texted: 'Yeah sure, this morning I told him he has to get some help with his, as I am not having...'

After hearing the message, which ended abruptly, the jury was told about another text from later in the same day when CJ Mays contacted her sister to say: 'I told him to get help for anger as I am seriously not having it.'

It is not known what incident the texts might relate to and Mays has not yet started his defence case, which is expected to take place tomorrow. 

Mays denies murder but admits manslaughter, claiming he 'lost his temper' and killed Louise by beating her after an argument. He denies defiling the teen and torching her body.

Andrew Langdon QC, defending, earlier said: 'By his guilty plea of manslaughter, Mr Mays accepts that on Friday, May 8, having walked with Louise to Havant Thicket, he attacked her. 

Shane Mays (pictured right, with his wife, Chazlynn Jayne Mays, known as CJ Mays) denies murder but admits manslaughter, claiming he 'lost his temper'

Police officers at the area of woodland in Havant, Hampshire, during their investigation in May

Markers placed at the scene in November, to aid a visit by the jury in the trial of Shane Mays, of Havant, Hampshire, who is on trial at Winchester Crown Court charged with murder

'His case is that he did so because of an argument which resulted in him losing control of his temper.

'He repeatedly punched her and he accepts that his attack on her would have caused or contributed to her subsequent death. He did not intend to kill her or to cause her really serious injury.'

Louise's face had been smashed with her jaw bone and teeth dislocated from her face and a large circular hole left in the pit of her stomach, the jury had heard.

Forensic pathologist Dr Basil Purdue had concluded that it was not possible to say which of the injuries Louise had suffered killed her, or whether she had been alive at the time they were inflicted.

Louise's body had been violated, the prosecution said, in such a way that there were 'grounds to believe that part of the motivation for her murder was sexual.'

Mays was accused of throwing Louise's phone away before fleeing Havant Thicket and returning to his home in the Leigh Park area, from where he went to an Iceland store to buy four pizzas.

The trial continues.

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