Pembrokeshire man killed teenager after night out and left her body in reservoir
A man who murdered an 18-year-old on a night out and left her body in a reservoir confessed to his girlfriend “I’ve strangled somebody”, a court has heard.
Lewis Haines killed Lily Sullivan after meeting her at Out nightclub, formerly known as Paddles nightclub, in Pembroke on December 16 last year.
The 31-year-old admits murdering Ms Sullivan but denies it was sexually motivated.
A trial of facts is being held at Swansea Crown Court to determine whether there was a sexual element to the killing before Haines can be sentenced.
The court has heard that, after being seen partying with friends and later heading away from the club with Haines, Ms Sullivan was discovered submerged in Mill Pond, a two-mile long fresh water reservoir near the town.
She had been strangled and was no longer wearing the cream lace crop top she had been pictured in that night.
Leaving the teenager in the water, Haines left the scene and walked past her mother, Anna, who had been frantically calling her daughter from a nearby garage where she was parked.
She had been due to pick up her daughter and a friend at 2am, but they had not arrived.
She last spoke to her daughter just before 3am when Ms Sullivan answered the phone and said she was on her way to the garage to meet her.
The phone call was cut off mid-sentence.
CCTV footage shows Ms Sullivan was with Haines at the time, in an alleyway leading to the reservoir.
Sometime later, Ms Sullivan’s mother said she saw a man of Haines’ description walking casually past and swinging his arms before his behaviour changed and he began wringing his hands, shaking his head and running across the road.
William Hughes QC, prosecuting, told the court on Monday: “Anna Sullivan decided to follow Lewis Haines.
“While she’d not seen him before, her description of the man is similar to Lewis Haines.
“The prosecution believe the person Anna Sullivan saw was her daughter’s killer.”
The court heard that Haines arrived home to his girlfriend, Maisie John, at around 3.40am and told her: “I’ve strangled somebody. They’re in Mill Pond.”
Ms John said Haines’ jeans were damp and he had blood on his arms.
She said Haines was “hysterical” and repeatedly asked to be taken to his mother’s house.
On the journey, he admitted: “I think she’s dead.”
He later told his mother that Ms Sullivan had called him a rapist and hit him, and that he had strangled her and pushed her into the water.
Haines claimed to have tried to pull Ms Sullivan out of the water but said she was a “dead weight”.
His stepfather, Lee Pitman, drove to Mill Pond in search of Ms Sullivan and called the police on the way.
Ms Sullivan was declared dead at 6.02am despite paramedics’ attempts to revive her.
A post-mortem examination revealed she had bruising to her face and had been strangled, but there was no evidence she had been sexually assaulted.
Mr Hughes said: “Lily’s lace top was recovered from an area of vegetation at the side of the water.
“The prosecution’s contention is that it was removed before she entered the water.”
Haines, a father-of-one, of Flemish Court, Lamphey, Pembrokeshire, had previously denied murdering Ms Sullivan but pleaded guilty a week before his trial was due to begin.
He continues to deny the killing was sexually motivated and Judge Paul Thomas will decide prior to sentencing whether or not there was a sexual element to the murder.
Haines could face a life sentence with a minimum term of 30 years if Judge Thomas agrees with the prosecution that the killing was sexual, compared with a minimum term of 15 years if he does not.
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