Carer, 25, denies raping and murdering schoolgirl Lucy McHugh, 13, who was found stabbed to death in woodland
- Carer Stephen Nicholson today pleaded not guilty to raping Lucy McHugh, 13
- The 25-year-old denies murdering the schoolgirl in Southampton, Hampshire
- Lucy was found stabbed to death in woodland two miles away from her home
- Nicholson today denied three charges of rape and two charges of sexual activity with a child
Published: 09:43 EDT, 18 June 2019 | Updated: 10:31 EDT, 18 June 2019
A carer has today pleaded not guilty to the rape of 13-year-old Lucy McHugh who was found stabbed to death in woodland.
Stephen Nicholson, of no fixed address, is charged with the murder of the schoolgirl in Southampton, Hampshire in July last year, which he denies.
At the star of his trial today at Winchester Crown Court, he pleaded not guilty to three charges of rape when she was 12 years old and two charges of sexual activity with a child when she was aged 13.
A panel of jurors has been selected from which 12 will be sworn in on Thursday when the prosecution is expected to open its case.
Stephen Nicholson, 24, (right) is accused of murdering Lucy McHugh (left) who was found with stab wounds in woodland near her home in Southampton, Hampshire
Lucy, pictured, 13, was found dead in woodland at Southampton Sports Centre in July
Lucy left her home in Mansel Road East, Southampton, Hampshire, at about 9am on July 25, police have said.
Her body was found the next morning in woodland nearly two miles away.
A post-mortem examination revealed she died from stab wounds.
Lucy’s mother, Stacey White, has described her daughter as an ‘angel’ and as ‘a smiling, content little dolly, who everyone adored and cherished’.
CCTV from earlier in the investigation captured Lucy walking past a Tesco Express store a day before she was found dead
A horse-drawn hearse carrying the coffin of 13-year-old Lucy McHugh after her funeral ceremony at Hollybrook cemetery in Shirley, Southampton, in August last year
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