Lewis Haines, a 31-year-old oil refinery worker in Pembroke, Wales, was sentenced Friday to 23 years and four months at Swansea Crown Court for the murder of an 18-year-old woman who allegedly rejected his sexual advances, according to The Guardian.
The half-naked body of Lily Sullivan was dumped in a local estuary on December 17, 2021. She and Haines reportedly first met at the Out nightclub the night before and were later seen on CCTV footage walking down an unlit alley toward a mill pond.
Haines allegedly ripped off Sullivan’s top and strangled her before pushing her into the water. He went home and is said to have told his girlfriend that he had strangled someone, according to the TSTIME. His conviction was accompanied by screams from the public gallery declaring him a “monster” as Judge Paul Thomas delivered his sentence.
“You brutally killed Lily Sullivan because you wanted intercourse,” Thomas said. “She made arrangements to meet her mother. You got frustrated and tried to force her to move on. She said she would complain about what you did.’
Thomas further told Haines: “To stop her, you strangled her face to face. She must have been terrified, an 18-year-old girl alone in the dark with a powerful man, completely at your mercy and you showed her absolutely nothing, you were only concerned with your self-preservation.
The victim’s mother, Anne Sullivan, was on the phone with her daughter when the attack began – and the call was cut off. She was reportedly waiting in her car for her daughter when Haines walked by and “looked me straight in the eye, knowing what he had done,” she said in a personal statement in court.
“Maybe I could have saved my girl,” she added. “She tried to get me back. She needed me, she was in trouble.”
Although Haines admitted to the crime, he denied the judge’s claim that “sexual conduct” was involved. Footage of his leaving with the teen that night showed audible screams from Haines’ friend, who asked, “What are you doing? You have a girlfriend… and she’s only 18.”
Anne tried to call her daughter back 30 times after their conversation ended abruptly. A local resident told investigators they heard a woman screaming during the estimated time of Sullivan’s death.
Anne claimed that she now suffers from nightmares and panic attacks and no longer fears death, as all she would return to her daughter would be. She also said that she has to constantly remind her father, who suffers from dementia, that his granddaughter is dead.
“I wake up at night imagining Lily in the water and wondering if she knew what was going on and if she was scared,” Anne said. “It’s like being tortured into thinking that just one decision could have changed all night.”
She went on to say that her daughter was an artist who loved house music and described her as a “beautiful girl inside and out.”