A TEENAGE killer who bludgeoned a schoolgirl to death with a cricket bat has failed to have his jail sentence cut.

Kieron Smith, now aged 27, was jailed for life in January 2006 after he was convicted of murdering 10-year-old Lauren Pilkington-Smith, who was found battered to death in woodland near Leigh, by her grandfather.

The July 2005 murder followed a game of cricket involving Smith, formerly of Pilling Street, Leigh, Lauren, and another youngster who returned home before the game ended, said top judge, Mr Justice Foskett.

The fatal attack probably happened as Smith — then aged 17 — and Lauren were walking back from the game through woodland.

There was no evidence of any "sexual motive" on Smith's part, but the judge said he "must have lost his temper for some unknown reason and mounted a sustained and violent attack on her".

"He hit her with something that either was - or was like - a cricket bat at least 10 times with the intention of killing her, albeit that the attack was not premeditated," the judge added.

After Lauren's death, Smith placed a twig in each of her nostrils and placed a sock in her mouth, before trying to conceal her body among undergrowth.

Mr Justice Foskett, who was considering Smith's bid for a cut in his 15-year minimum sentence, said there was no evidence of him suffering from any "mental disorder" at the time.

Smith was said to be "very immature" when he killed Lauren, but the judge observed: "He did not accept responsibility at the time and — as will appear — he has not accepted responsibility since then".

The killer urged the judge to cut his jail time in the light of his good behaviour in custody, where he claims to have made "exceptional progress".

But Mr Justice Foskett said he had shown no signs of remorse and is now considering an appeal against his murder conviction.

The ruling means that Smith will not be eligigle to even apply for parole before July 13, 2020.

Even if freed, he will remain on perpetual life licence in the community, subject to prison recall if he puts a foot wrong ever again.