A court has heard that the killer informed his partner, “I’ve strangled somebody,” before killing the adolescent girl he had met in a bar and disposing of her body in a lake.
Lily Sullivan, 18, was killed by Lewis Haines on December 16 of last year after they had met at a nightclub in Pembroke, Pembrokshire.
Haines, a 31-year-old man, admits to killing Ms. Sullivan but disputes that there was a sexual motive.
Before Haines is sentenced, the Swansea Crown Court is conducting a trial of the facts to ascertain whether the killing had a sexual component.
The body of Ms. Sullivan was discovered in the town’s freshwater lake, Mill Pond, after she had been seen partying with friends and leaving the nightclub with Haines, the court was informed.
The cream lace crop top she had been seen wearing that night was no longer on her since she had been strangled.
Haines walked passed the teen’s mother, Anna, who had been frantically calling her daughter from a nearby garage where she was parked as she departed the scene, leaving the child in the water.
At two in the morning, she was supposed to pick up her daughter and a friend, but they were late.
When Ms. Sullivan answered the phone just before 3 a.m. and said she was going to meet her in the garage, it was the last time she spoke to her daughter. Mid-sentence, the phone call was disconnected.
Ms. Sullivan was seen on surveillance film at the scene with Haines in an alleyway leading to the lake.
Later, according to Ms. Sullivan’s mother, she noticed a man matching Haines’ description strolling past and swinging his arms before his actions changed and he started shaking his head, wringing his hands, and sprinting across the street.
William Hughes QC, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court: “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 at around 3.40 am, Haines told his girlfriend Maisie John that he had strangled someone. The location is Mill Pond.
According to Ms. John, Haines had blood on his arms, and his clothes were wet. She called Haines “hysterical” and insisted on being taken to his mother’s house several times.
He confessed, “I think she’s dead,” throughout the trip.
Ms. Sullivan had labelled him a rapist, hit him, and, according to what Haines later told his mother, he had strangled her and pushed her into the sea.
Ms. Sullivan was a “dead weight,” according to Haines, who claimed to have attempted to pull her out of the water.
Lee Pitman, his stepfather, travelled to Mill Pond in search of Ms. Sullivan while also making a phone call to the police.
Despite the paramedics’ best efforts to revive Ms. Sullivan, she was pronounced dead at 6.02 am. She had bruises on her face and had been strangled, but there was no proof that she had been sexually abused, according to a post-mortem test.
Lily’s lace top was found in a patch of bushes beside the water, according to Mr. Hughes.
The defence claims that it was taken off before she entered the water.
A week before his trial was set to start, Haines, a father of one from Lamphey, Pembrokeshire, admitted to killing Ms. Sullivan after initially denying it.
He continues to argue that the murder was not motivated by sexual desires, and Judge Paul Thomas will determine whether or not there was a sexual component to the crime before imposing a sentence.
If Judge Thomas finds that the homicide was sexual in nature, Haines might receive a life sentence with a minimum term of 30 years, as opposed to a minimum term of 15 years if he does not.