Hundreds attend funeral of murdered schoolgirl Lucy McHugh
MOURNERSÂ have attended the funeral of murdered schoolgirl Lucy McHugh, who was found stabbed to death last month.
The body of the 13-year-old was found in woodland at Southampton Sports Centre on July 26.
Family and friends at Hollybrook Cemetery where Lucy was laid to rest on Bank Holiday Monday wore green and blue - the teen's favourite colours.
Her mother Stacey White said the event was to be a '˜celebration of her life'.
Her body was brought to the chapel in a hearse pulled by two white horses.
In a eulogy read by Reverand Sean Blackman, Lucy's family said: '˜Lucy was a little hurricane of smiles and lip gloss, wearing the brightest colours possible, with no care for what anyone thought.
'˜She was a real individual and never followed the crowd.'
A gofundme page set up to raise Â£5,000 towards costs for Lucy's funeral received more than Â£6,000 in two days.
Her father Andy McHugh chose not to attend the funeral, saying he wanted to avoid '˜unnecessary conflict'.
He posted on Facebook: '˜To honour my daughter and avoid unnecessary conflict I have made the difficult decision not to attend the public celebration of Lucy's life.
'˜I am arranging an alternative service for those who wish to honour Lucy and say goodbye, but have felt unable to attend the public event.'
He added: '˜Yes I have not seen my daughter for four years but it doesn't mean I am not hurting she was my daughter as well.'
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 remanded in custody at Southampton Magistrates' Court after he was charged under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) for failing to provide his Facebook password to detectives.
He is understood to have been living with the family in the months before the teen's death and was a colleague of Lucy's mother, a careworker, as well as a part-time tattooist.
The 24-year-old will next appear at Southampton Crown Court on August 31.
Hampshire police have made repeated appeals to the public, including screening CCTV footage of Lucy's last known movements to the crowd at Southampton Football Club's St Mary's Stadium a few weeks ago.
It shows Lucy walking past a convenience store in Wimpson Lane at 9.06am and on Coxford Road near Southampton General Hospital at 9.22am on July 25.
And a Â£10,000 reward has been offered by Crimestoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her killer.
A force spokesman said detectives had requested the support of the National Crime Agency (NCA) for their '˜expertise in specific aspects of our murder investigation'.
Lucy was last seen wearing a distinctive black jacket with white sleeves, the logo for the band Falling in Reverse on the front and RADKE 01 in red on the back, white vest top, camouflage leggings and black and white Jordan 23 trainers.
Anyone with information should call 101 quoting Operation Refund or make a report using the following link mipp.police.uk/operation/1004