A MAN accused of murdering a schoolgirl told her mum to ‘keep her chin up’ following her disappearance, a court heard
Carer Stephen Nicholson, of no fixed address, is standing trial for the murder of 13-year-old Lucy McHugh in the woodland near Southampton Sports Centre in July last year.
The 25-year-old is accused of repeatedly stabbing the schoolgirl in her neck and upper body before leaving her to die and is also charged with three counts of rape against her when she was aged 12.
He is also facing two charges of sexual activity with a child against Lucy on multiple occasions when she was aged 13.
Winchester Crown Court heard on Thursday that Mr Nicholson, who is also a tattoo artist, sent what appeared to be a thoughtful message to Lucy’s mother just hours after he allegedly killed her.
The Mirror Online reports that a text he sent to Stacey White, 31, which said: ‘I hope they find her safe. Police are good at their job and they will find her soon.
‘Keep your chin up and stay positive.’
The court was told be prosecutor William Mousley QC on Wednesday that Nicholson and Lucy had been having sex and the pair had arranged to meet in the woods on the day she went missing.
Her body was found by a dog walker almost 24 hours later.
Nicholson is also charged with sexual activity with a child in relation to another girl aged 14, dated June 29 2012.
He denies all charges and is remanded in custody.
The trial continues.