The mum of a murdered teenager made eye contact with her killer moments after he’d left her daughter’s dead body in a pond.
Anna Sullivan described Lewis Haines as “pure evil” before he was jailed for life, for the murder of 18-year-old Lily Sullivan.
The 31-year-old dad strangled the college student after she rejected his advances for sex on a night out in Pembroke, south-west Wales.
After the murder, Haines made his way home and walked past Ms Sullivan’s car as she waited to pick up her daughter whose half-naked body lay submerged nearby.
The pair had kissed after meeting in the Out nightspot on December 16 and later went to a nearby alleyway together where they became more intimate.
The victim was later found face down and topless in the Mill Pond; a two-mile-long freshwater reservoir near the town.
Lily had spoken to her mother at 2.47am when she said: “I’ll be there now mam. I’m on my way. I’m a couple of minutes away. I’m nearly there.”
But the call was cut short, and Ms Sullivan tried calling her back 30 times as she sat waiting to pick her up in the nearby Green Garage.
Her calls to Lily all went to voicemail as she waited.
Ms Sullivan unknowingly spotted Haines “walking casually, swinging his arms” at 3.09am when he started to “act strangely”.
CCTV showed he and Lily walking together through the streets and turning down a lane.
Then he was spotted alone minutes later.
Prosecutor William Hughes QC told Swansea Crown Court earlier this week: “He began to act strangely, running across the road even though there was no traffic and walking towards the Bush school.
“He was shaking his head and holding his head in his hands. This occurred at 3.09am.
“The person Anna Sullivan saw at this point was her daughter’s killer.
“Anna Sullivan decided to follow Lewis Haines due to his behaviour. She lost sight of him as he disappeared into the woods.
“Mr Haines was aware that Anna Sullivan was waiting for Lily at that location.”
In a victim impact statement, Ms Sullivan said the events of that night “go over in my mind constantly”.
“I wake up in the night picturing Lily in the water wondering if she knew what was happening, if she was scared.
“I wish I had stopped Lily going out that night. I picture the man responsible for her death when I saw him at the garage, and I wish I had confronted him.
“Knowing I was that close to her, I wish I’d got out of my car and walked. I always wonder if I could have saved her.
“He looked me straight in the eyes knowing what he had done. I feel now that this was Lily trying to tell me something and reaching out to me, which is unbearable.
“I question what happened when her phone went dead when I was speaking to her, what I could have done differently so she’d still be alive.
“I play that whole night over and over in my head – it’s like being tortured thinking just one decision could have changed the whole night.
“These thoughts never leave me and I can’t stop thinking about it. I have to live with the fact that I now never know what really happened to Lily that night.
“I suspect the actual truth will haunt me for the rest of my life.”