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Last Updated: Friday, 20 January 2006, 12:31 GMT
Child killer jailed for 15 years
Kieron Smith
Kieron Smith had played cricket with Lauren on the day of her death
A teenager found guilty of the murder of his 10-year-old neighbour has been jailed for a minimum of 15 years.

Jobless Kieron Smith, 18, had denied killing Lauren Pilkington-Smith in Leigh, Greater Manchester, on 7 July last year.

He was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court on 15 December.

Lauren, who disappeared after playing cricket with Smith - no relation - and another boy near her home, was found battered to death in woodland.

Mr Justice Mackay ruled on Friday that Smith should not be considered for parole until he was 33-years-old.

"You led an empty and aimless life and did nothing to fill your days," he said.

We've got to live with our sorrow for ever
Lauren's grandmother Pam Smith

"She had her whole life in front of her, she was due to start at high school the following September.

"She viewed you as her friend and playmate, and you abused that trust and confidence she placed in you."

The judge warned Smith that if he continued to deny the killing, he would remain in prison for much longer.

Lauren's family welcomed the sentence.

Grandmother Pam Smith, mother of Lauren's father Glenn Smith, said: "As long as he never admits what he did, then he will probably be in prison for ever.

Lauren Pilkington-Smith
Lauren had suffered severe head injuries

"That's long enough for us, because we've got to live with our sorrow for ever."

Grandfather Ken Pilkington, father of Lauren's mother Alison, said: "I don't think he will be out again, but it is up to the parole board to make sure he never puts another family through what we have been through."

Lauren's body was found by her grandfather, hidden under leaves. She had suffered severe head injuries.

Smith, of Pilling Street, Leigh, was found guilty by a unanimous verdict following a trial lasting nearly two weeks.

Police said he was "a cold, calculating and violent killer".

Floral tributes in the area where Lauren was found
Lauren was found battered to death in woodland

The teenager admitted playing cricket with Lauren, but always insisted he had gone home afterwards and not seen her again.

He had been unable to explain how tiny droplets of Lauren's blood came to be on his trainers.

Lauren's parents said her loss had left the family "devastated".

"It is like a beautiful light has gone from our lives," they said.

"There is a great hole left which can never be filled."




SEE ALSO:
Teenager guilty of Lauren murder
15 Dec 05 |  Manchester
'We have lost a beautiful light'
15 Dec 05 |  Manchester
Girl killed 'after cricket game'
06 Dec 05 |  Manchester
Teenager denies schoolgirl murder
03 Oct 05 |  Manchester


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