A MARRIED man smashed his the skull of his wife's 16-year-old niece in a sexual murder then tried to burn her "violated" body, a court heard today.
Louise Smith's body was found "unrecognisable" in woodland near her home with her jaw bone completely detached and attempts made to burn her body, it was said.
The teenager had been missing for two weeks after staying at the one-bedroom Havant home of her aunt CJ Mays and her husband Shane Mays, who she called "mum and dad".
Shane Mays, 30, has admitted to the manslaughter of aspiring veterinary nurse Louise but is currently on trial for murder.
Jurors at Winchester Crown Court heard today how Louise was found on March 22 after the "cruel and brutal" murder.
Prosecutor James Newton-Price QC said: "A determined attempt had been made to destroy her body. It was so badly burnt and damaged by fire as to be unrecognisable.
There are grounds to believe that part of the motivation for her murder was sexual
"Her body had been subjected to extreme violence and violation.
"This included repeated and heavy blows to her head.
"The bones and the structure of her face had been shattered.
"Her jawbone was completely detached from the skull. Her body had also been penetrated in a terrible way."
He added: "There are grounds to believe that part of the motivation for her murder was sexual."
The court heard how "easily-led" Louise had been staying with her aunt and Mays in the two weeks leading up to her death after rowing with her mum.
At first the trio "got on" and Louise wrote in texts to CJ how she wanted to call the pair "mum and dad" and spoke of their "perfect family".
But jurors were told the relationship soured as CJ barred Louise's boyfriend from staying at the home.
Mr Newton-Price said: "Louise Smith was a vulnerable child, she took antidepressants and occasionally she self-harmed.
"She lacked confidence and she suffered from anxiety issues that do affect some teenagers.
"In April this year, Louise quarrelled with her mother and she went to live for a time with other friends and family. In late April, Louise went to live with a lady called Chazlynn Mays and her husband Shane.
"At first the new arrangement went well. There seems to have been an incident of play-fighting and tickling with Shane Mays that took place not long after moving in.
"Certainly, initially Louise seemed to get on very well with both CJ and with Shane. The happy start did not last for very long."
The day before her death on VE Day, the court heard how Louise had made plans to move in with a pal she met up with.
She text a friend later that night, saying: "I cannot live here anymore…long story…they are just vile."
On May 8, jurors were told Mays and Louise walked to Havant Thicket where the teen's mutilated body was found around a fortnight later.
Mays allegedly chucked the teen's phone and case and was spotted on CCTV walking away from the scene.
He then showed up at his mum's house where jurors heard he was "sweaty and thirsty".
Meanwhile, a search for "vulnerable" Louise was launched and Mays and his wife were arrested on suspicion of kidnap.
After her body was found, Mays was charged with murder and his wife was freed on bail, it was said.
Mays originally told police he had walked with Louise to a skatepark in Emsworth, but later changed his version by admitting to causing her death at Havant Thicket, it was said.
He denies one charge of murder but admits manslaughter.
The trial continues.
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