Lucy McHugh murder trial: Suspect 'dumped clothes with DNA links to schoolgirl', court hears

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CLOTHES found dumped in woodland had DNA links to both a schoolgirl who was stabbed to death and the man accused of killing her, a court heard. 

Stephen Nicholson, of no fixed address, is accused of repeatedly stabbing the teenager to the neck and upper body at Southampton Sports Centre before leaving her to die in July last year.

Lucy McHugh. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary/PA Wire

Lucy McHugh. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary/PA Wire

Forensic scientist Jessica Adby, of Key Forensic Services, told Winchester Crown Court that DNA samples were taken from clothing which is alleged to have been dumped by the defendant in nearby woodland at Tanner's Brook.

She said the blood-stained Russell Athletic royal blue hoodie contained DNA profiles from both Lucy and the defendant.

Mrs Adby said the likelihood of a mixed DNA sample from the hoodie being from Lucy was ‘310 million times more likely’ to be from her and another person than from two other unknown people.

She added that the likelihood of the DNA in the samples from the hoodie coming from Nicholson and another person was ‘93 times’ more likely than two other unknown people.

The blood-stained Russell Athletic royal blue hoodie, found  in woodland near to the body of murdered schoolgirl Lucy McHugh at Tanner's Brook, Southampton, containing DNA profiles from both Lucy and defendant Stephen Nicholson. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary/PA Wire

The blood-stained Russell Athletic royal blue hoodie, found in woodland near to the body of murdered schoolgirl Lucy McHugh at Tanner's Brook, Southampton, containing DNA profiles from both Lucy and defendant Stephen Nicholson. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary/PA Wire

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Mrs Adby explained that the hoodie was wet and mouldy when it was found and the water could have ‘diluted’ the DNA samples.

She said a pair of blue surgical gloves found at Tanner's Brook were ‘one billion times more likely’ to come from Nicholson than another person.

Mrs Adby said no DNA profile was found on a burnt pair of red underpants.

Court sketch of Stephen Nicholson, 25, (right) in the dock at Winchester Crown Court. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

Court sketch of Stephen Nicholson, 25, (right) in the dock at Winchester Crown Court. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

She said tests were also carried out on ‘extensively blood-stained’ clothing found on Lucy's body at the sports centre which matched her DNA.

Mrs Adby said that no matches to the defendant were found on Lucy's jacket or vest top but she added that he "could be a minor contributor" to a sample from her leggings which was made up of the DNA from five people.

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She said there were no ‘downward drips’ of blood on her clothing which would have occurred if she had been standing when she suffered her injuries.

Mrs Adby added that no semen was found on any of the clothing.

The 25-year-old defendant is charged with Lucy's murder as well as three counts of rape against her when she was aged 12.

He also faces two charges of sexual activity with a child against Lucy on multiple occasions when she was aged 13.

Nicholson is also charged with sexual activity with a child in relation to another girl aged 14, dated June 29 2012.

The defendant denies the charges and the trial continues.