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Judge to decide if murder of teenage girl in Pembroke was sexually motivated

Lewis Haines, 31, admits killing 18-year-old Lily Sullivan but denies the attack had a “sexual element”.

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Lily Sullivan, whose body was found at Pembroke Mill Pond in Wales (Family handout/PA)

Lily Sullivan, whose body was found at Pembroke Mill Pond in Wales (Family handout/PA)

Lily Sullivan, whose body was found at Pembroke Mill Pond in Wales (Family handout/PA)

A court is to decide whether or not the murder of a teenage girl by a man in Pembroke last year was sexually motivated.

Lewis Haines, 31, has previously admitted murdering Lily Sullivan after he encountered her while on a night out in the Welsh town on December 16 last year.

But the father-of-one, of Flemish Court, Lamphey, Pembrokeshire, has denied the killing was sexually motivated.

The 18-year-old was seen enjoying the evening with friends in the hours before her death.

Swansea Crown Court heard how she and Haines met inside the Paddles club and later left together, and were seen walking in the direction of an area known as the Mill Pond.

Ms Sullivan was discovered by police in the pond near the Mill Bridge in the early hours of the following day.

A post-mortem examination found Ms Sullivan had been strangled before being left in the pond.

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Ms Sullivan in the outfit she wore on the night she was killed by Lewis Haines (Family handout/PA)

Ms Sullivan in the outfit she wore on the night she was killed by Lewis Haines (Family handout/PA)

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Ms Sullivan in the outfit she wore on the night she was killed by Lewis Haines (Family handout/PA)

When she was found she was no longer wearing the crop top she had been pictured in that night.

Prosecutors believe that because items of Ms Sullivan’s clothing were missing, the attack was sexually motivated.

However, Haines and his defence dispute this.

Haines and forensic experts will give evidence at a two-day hearing next month to determine whether the crime was sexual.

The hearing must take place before Haines can be sentenced.

Haines could face a much longer prison sentence if it is found the killing was sexually motivated.

Judge Paul Thomas QC said: “The issue as to whether or not there is a sexual element in your murdering will be decided on the 22nd and 23rd of August.”

Haines had previously pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter but changed his plea to guilty of murder a week before his trial was due to begin.

In a tribute following her death Ms Sullivan’s family said: “Lily was a kind and caring daughter who will be deeply missed by everyone.”

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