A married man admitted killing a teenager just as his murder trial was about to get under way.
Shane Mays is charged with murdering 16-year-old Louise Smith after her body was found dumped in dense woodland a mile from her home.
However, before the trial was opened, Mays entered a late guilty plea to manslaughter.
The 30-year-old, whose wife Cjay Mays is Louise’s cousin, will now stand trial for murder, with the case expected to begin on Tuesday.
Louise, a popular college student, went missing in Havant, Hants, as the nation celebrated VE Day on May 8 this year, sparking a huge search from her community.
The teenager’s body was found by police a mile-and-a-half from Mays’ flat in the dense woodland area of Havant Thicket on May 21, following an extensive fingertip search by police.
The shocking incident rocked Louise’s community in the Leigh Park area of Havant.
She was later honoured with a huge procession, a memorial garden, and the £35 million Spinnaker Tower landmark in nearby Portsmouth, Hants, glowed purple, which was her favourite colour.
Cjay Mays, 29, who is Mays’ wife and Louise’s cousin, was arrested in connection with the teenager’s death but released without charge.
Today at Winchester Crown Court, Hants, Mays pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Louise on May 8.
Mays – who has short dark hair, a moustache with stubble on his chin, tattoos on his neck and was wearing a blue jumper – spoke only to confirm his name and to enter the guilty plea.
Prosecutor James Newton-Price QC said that the plea was “not acceptable” and that a murder charge will still be pursued.
Mr Newton-Price QC said jurors sitting on the trial will be informed Mays has admitted manslaughter but denies murder.