Trial date set for man accused of murdering schoolgirl Lucy McHugh

A trial date has been set for a 24-year-old man accused of the murder of Lucy McHugh and of raping her more than a year before she died.

The body of the 13-year-old was found in woodland at Southampton Sports Centre on July 26. She had been stabbed to death.

Stephen Nicholson, of no fixed abode, appeared at Winchester Crown Court where he was told his case would be brought before a jury on May 1, 2019.

The care worker has been charged with Lucy’s murder and one count of sexual activity with a child in relation to her.

He is also accused of raping Lucy between May 28 and May 31 in 2017 when she was still 12 years old.

He also faces a second count of sexual activity with a child which dates back to 2012. This charge involves a 14-year-old girl and is alleged to have taken place at Southampton Sports Centre.

The defendant, who wore a grey sweatshirt for the hearing, was remanded in custody until a plea hearing on January 10.

The judge, Mrs Justice May, said: “I will remand him on these matters.”