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Father of murdered schoolgirl Lucy McHugh speaks of ‘distressing time’

Murdered schoolgirl Lucy McHugh (Hampshire Constabulary) Photo: Press Association Images

The father of murdered schoolgirl Lucy McHugh has spoken of the “most difficult and distressing time” following her death.

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

Floral tributes left close to the scene near Southampton Sports Centre Credit: Ben Mitchell/PA

Her father Andy McHugh said in a statement released through Hampshire Police: “This is the most difficult and distressing time following the violent loss of my daughter Lucy.

“I am very grateful for the prayers and support being offered.

“I ask for privacy at this time.”

Detectives are still appealing for witnesses to Lucy’s final movements after she left her home on the morning of Wednesday July 25.

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting Operation Refund; alternatively make a report using the following link: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/1004.

CCTV image of Lucy McHugh in Wimpson Lane shortly before she disappeared Credit: Hampshire Constabulary

The charity Crimestoppers is offering a reward of £10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for Lucy’s murder.

Suspect Stephen-Alan Nicholson, who was arrested on suspicion of murder and sexual activity with a child, was released on police bail on July 31 but was remanded in custody by Southampton Magistrates’ Court after he was charged under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) for failing to provide his Facebook password to detectives.

The 24-year-old will next appear at Southampton Crown Court on August 31.