This is the third in our #EveryThreeDays campaign – when we remember a woman killed by a man.
On the 2nd of May, we reflected on Suzanne Pilley, on the 5th Raheela Shariff – just three days after Raheela, we remember Louise Smith.
I live in Portsmouth and situated just three miles away on the city’s outskirts is the suburb of Leigh Park – it is here Louise lived.
Louise, disappeared exactly one year ago today, May 8th 2020, she was just sixteen years old.
Louise was described by her family as cheeky, smiley and had a great love of the outdoors. She also loved animals and was training to be a veterinary nurse. Sadly though, she also had family problems so had moved into her aunt & uncles home – that of CJ and Shane May.
At first, all went well, and she even described them as her “new mum and dad”, but in time Shane May started to get attracted to his 16-year-old niece. At exactly midday on the 8th of May, Louise left with her uncle for a walk in the woods known locally as Havant Thicket. It is not known precisely the circumstances of what happened in the woods but what is known is that they argued over sex, resulting in May punching Louise and then hitting her over the head with a log.
Shane May then returned home, telling his wife CJ that Louise had gone out after their walk. However, Louise was due to meet her boyfriend later that day, and when she did not return, they became concerned and started a search for her. Meanwhile, Shane May cooly went out and bought a Pizza.
The police were informed late afternoon, and an official search started, but Louise body was not found for thirteen days. In the meantime, Shane May had returned to the scene in an attempt to burn Louise’s body.
May was duly charged with Louise’s murder, and his trial at Winchester Crown Court started in December of last year. There was some harrowing evidence, and local and national media reported this:
“Once there, he subjected her to “extreme violence and excruciating, overwhelming pain” as he inflicted “catastrophic” injuries”.
“Mays later made a “determined attempt” to destroy her body by returning to it and “building a bonfire” on top of her.
She was discovered two weeks later severely decomposed and unrecognisable”.
Prosecutor James Newton-Price QC said: “The burned and decomposed state of Louise’s body was such that we cannot say exactly which of her multiple injuries caused her death, but it is clear that her killer lured or persuaded her to walk to a remote location where he attacked her”.
“We say you can conclude that this was an act of unimaginable cruelty towards a vulnerable 16-year-old girl”.
“The shattering of the bones and the structure of her face, including the complete detachment of her jawbone, indicates multiple blows to her head.”
May was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 25 years. However, many local people objected to the minimum term as May could be released in his fifties and still enjoy a good chunk of his life.
However, in February of this year, the Court of Appeal dismissed attempts to increase his sentence.
Louise Smith 2004 – 2020
Authored by Steph @PlaceSteph