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Monday, February 9, 1998 Published at 21:17 GMT


Former student jailed for Christmas Day murder
image: [ Louise Smith: murdered as she walked home ]
Louise Smith: murdered as she walked home

A former student who admitted murdering a Bristol teenager as she walked home from a Christmas Eve party has been jailed for life after police used DNA evidence to track him down.

Stephen Cape reports from Bristol (2' 20")
David Frost, 22, pleaded guilty to murdering 18-year-old Louise Smith and dumping her naked body in a quarry near her home on Christmas Day 1995. The Crown accepted a further plea of not guilty to rape.

[ image: David Frost admitted strangling Louise]
David Frost admitted strangling Louise
He had told police during interviews he had sex with the teenager and strangled her in panic when she had begun to cry.

Louise's body lay undiscovered for seven weeks while friends and neighbours joined police in a massive hunt after she disappeared in Yate, near Bristol, early on Christmas Day, 1995.

Prosecuting at Bristol Crown Court, Alan Jenkins QC, said Louise was last seen seen walking home from Spirals nightclub after a night out with friends.

Huge search

At one point around 10,000 people joined the hunt for the teenager, one of the biggest searches ever launched by police in the UK.

On February 17, 1996, two schoolboys were playing at the Barnhill quarry when they discovered Louise's body. Police took semen samples from her body which gave them the lead to the murderer.

Frost, who had been staying with his parents in Yate over Christmas, was one of 4,500 men approached to take a DNA test.

He agreed to a test but left for a job in South Africa before it could be carried out.

DNA match

[ image: Louise Smith: last seen on a nightclub security camera]
Louise Smith: last seen on a nightclub security camera
Working with the South African authorities, the police gained a swab from Frost and matched him to the DNA found on Louise Smith's body.

Det Insp Chris Farrell, leading the investigation, interviewed Frost in South Africa and the 22-year-old agreed to return to the UK, where he was arrested.

During police interviews, Frost admitted having sex with the teenager but claimed he had left her soon afterwards.

[ image: Frost dumped Louise's body in a quarry]
Frost dumped Louise's body in a quarry
But by his fifth interview, he told officers: "I think everyone has suffered enough. I would like to say I think I did rape Louise and I was responsible for her death, both on Christmas Day."

Mr Justice Bell, passing sentence, told Frost: "It was an evil thing that you did in the early hours of Christmas Day two years ago - taking the life of Louise Smith. There is only one sentence for murder and that is life imprisonment."

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