Louise Smith's heartbroken boyfriend tells of 'last kiss and cuddle' before uncle beat teenager to death
LOUISE Smith's heartbroken boyfriend spoke of their "last kiss and cuddle" before her uncle beat her to death.
Bradley Kercher, then 17, told police the last time he saw her alive he had told her he loved her, a court heard today.
Shane Mays, 30 has admitted killing his 16-year-old niece because he "lost his temper" but denies her "sexually-motivated" murder.
Mays said he "repeatedly punched" Louise, whose "brutally beaten" and torched body was found in woodland in Havant.
Mr Kercher, who is now 18, said: "On the Thursday [the day before she disappeared], I said goodbye to her, told her I love her and gave her a kiss and a cuddle.
"That was the last time I saw her."
Mr Kercher, who was in an on and off relationship with Louise for a year, said she and Mays 'flirted'.
He said: "The way Louise was speaking about Shane, it was like he was flirting with her. He put his arm around her, tickled her, pinned her down, things like that.
"Shane said he feels like Louise was flirting with him. They were both saying that both were flirting with one another but both denying it.
"I brushed it aside."
He added: "Louise text me things like 'me and and Shane were walking to the shop and he put his arm around me' and 'we were walking to the shop and he pushed me in the bush'.
"The way she was saying it was like they were flirting."
On May 8, Mr Kercher knew something was wrong when Louise failed to answer her rose gold Sony Xperia phone, which had a Beauty and the Beast case, because she was 'always on it'.
I said goodbye to her, told her I love her and gave her a kiss and a cuddle.
Mr Kercher and CJ had been told by Mays that he walked her three miles to a skate part in Emsworth, but Mr Kercher found it strange because 'it was too far'.
Mr Kercher said when Mays walked through the door he complained 'Lou takes the p*** because she just made me walk her to Emsworth.
He added: "CJ phoned her and her phone just kept ringing, ringing and ringing.
"She kept trying to call her but when she didn't pick up I knew something had happened and I knew I needed to get up to the skate park to see her.
"Emsworth was too far, she didn't know anyone there. It was unusual behaviour for Louise… When Shane said she went there it didn't make sense in my head.
"Then her phone would not answer, it didn't add up."
He also said: "Her life was on her phone… She always had it around her. She was always on it."
Giving evidence in court,Mr Kercher said Louise never expressed any interest in visiting Havant Thicket, where she was killed.
Mr Kercher said in conversations with Louise in the days before her disappearance, she told him she 'had enough' of living with Mays and CJ, whose real name is Chazlynn.
He said: "She told me she had enough of the way Shane was speaking to her and the way she was being treated.
"Louise text me that she didn't like the way Shane spoke to her… She said he speaks to her like s***."
Louise went through phases of telling stories and causing trouble because she craved "the attention she never had", Mr Kercher old police in an interview given while she was still missing, the jury heard.
He said how Louise was obsessed with her phone, telling a jury: "She never used to go out, she used to claim that she had all these friends on Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat but she never went out, she never met any of her friends, she would sit indoors. It was like she had no life other than the life that is on her phone."
Mays has denied intending to kill the aspiring veterinary nurse, who had been staying at his home with his wife.
Winchester Crown Court how Louise's jaw bone was completely detached and her body was "burned and violated" with "breathtaking brutality".
A post-mortem showed "repeated blows from a heavy object such as a large branch or small log across her face", it was said.
The court was told Mays, who admits manslaughter but denies murder, accepts attacking the teen after a row as his defence was heard for the first time today.
Andrew Langdon QC, said: "By his plea of manslaughter, Shane Mays accepts that on May 8, having walked with Louise he attacked her.
"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 caused or contributed to her subsequent death.
"He didn't intend to kill her or to cause really serious injury. He did not set fire to her."
Jurors heard how on May 8, Mays lured Louise to Havant Thicket after taking advantage of the girl's "mental fragility".
While there, he then allegedly smashed her skull in with a log and later returned to "destroy" her body.
She was discovered two weeks later "severely decomposed".
Blood splatters were later found on his trainers that were "one billion times more likely to be from Louise than anyone else".
The court was told the splatter was consistent with Mays punching Louise repeatedly either while she was standing or on the ground.
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.
"Louise Smith was just 16."
Jurors previously 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 and Louise told a friend Mays was "flirting with her".
A Snapchat video was also shown to jurors of Mays "tickling" Louise's feet.
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."
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, she had been texting friends saying she had the "worst hangover going" before posting a final selfie to Snapchat.
Jurors were told Mays and Louise had walked to Havant Thicket where the schoolgirl was killed after leaving home at midday.
The last message Louise sent before she died was at 12.49pm, it was said.
Mays then allegedly chucked the teen's phone and case and was spotted on CCTV walking away from the scene.
Timeline of Louise’s death
May 7 – Final CCTV images showed Louise walking with Mays from Tesco after getting ice
May 8, morning – Louise sends a Snapchat from her phone – the last-ever taken of the teen
May 8, 12pm – Phone evidence showed she left home and headed towards Havant Thicket. CJ later tells a pal she was seen leaving with Mays at midday.
May 8, 12.49pm – A final text is sent from Louise's phone
May 8, 1pm – Louise's phone pings to a phone mast in Havant Thicket
May 8, 3pm – Louise's boyfriend arrives at the May house to meet her but she isn't there. CJ 'frantically' calls her
May 8, 4.07pm – Mays goes out to buy pizza as CJ and Louise's boyfriend look for her. He returns home at 5.02pm
May 8, 6.32pm – CJ calls the police and reports Louise missing
May 8, onwards – Mays and CJ are visited by police over the next few days. Mays tells officers he would "lock Louise in the bedroom if she returned" and asks if it was "ok to restrain her".
May 21, 11.45am – Louise's body is found in Havant Thicket
He later showed up at his mum's house where jurors heard he was "sweaty and thirsty".
At 3pm, CJ called police when Louise failed to meet a friend.
While she "frantically" tried to reach her niece, Mays was CCTV in Tesco buying four pizzas for him, CJ and Louise.
Police visited CJ and Mays at home over the next few days in connection with "vulnerable" Louise's disappearance.
While there, Mays said he would "lock" Louise in her bedroom if she returned and asked if it was "OK to restrain her", the court heard.
Mays and his wife were arrested on suspicion of kidnap, with her alleged killer telling a "series of lies".
After her body was found, Mays was charged with murder and his wife was freed on bail, it was said.
He 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.
Mays has an intermediary with him in the dock to help him understand proceedings as he "suffers from learning disabilities".
He denies one charge of murder but admits manslaughter.
The trial continues.
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