Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Lucy McHugh case: Plea for friends to reveal 'secrets'

Lucy McHugh Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Lucy McHugh was last seen leaving home on Wednesday morning

Police have appealed for friends of a 13-year-old girl found stabbed to death to reveal any "secrets" she might have had.

Lucy McHugh's body was discovered in woodland at Southampton Sports Centre on Thursday.

Detectives have also asked the public for CCTV or dashcam footage from near the scene or her home in Millbrook.

A 24-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder and sexual activity with a child was later released on bail.

The man was ordered not to enter the city.

Det Supt Paul Barton said: "Lucy was a 13-year-old girl. Thirteen-year-old girls have secrets - they speak to their their friends, they don't always speak to their parents.

"It's really important if you are a friend of Lucy and you know that Lucy had a secret, that she was going to meet someone that perhaps her parents wouldn't have approved of, then let us know," he said.

Image caption The teenager's body was found in woodland at an outdoor sports centre

Police said they had now established Lucy left her home in Mansel Road East shortly before 09:00 BST on 25 July but did not return home.

Her body was found by a member of the public at about 07:45 the following morning.

Det Supt Barton said he also wanted to trace video or sightings of the teenager after she left home.

"We also want to hear from anyone who may have been involved in activities at the sports centre on the Wednesday," he said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Lucy's friends held a balloon release in her memory

Lucy was last seen wearing a black jacket with white sleeves and a red logo, together with camouflage leggings.

Redbridge Community School, where Lucy was a pupil, said the school community was "absolutely devastated" by her death.

Friends gathered near her home for a balloon release in her memory on Tuesday.

A fundraising page set up to help pay for a funeral has raised more than £6,000 since Saturday.

Image caption Flowers have been left close to the police cordon at Southampton Sports Centre

A man appeared in court on Tuesday charged with withholding information relating to the murder investigation.

Stephen-Alan Nicholson, 24, of no fixed address, was charged with failing to comply with an order under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act requiring him to disclose a Facebook password.

He was remanded in custody to appear at Southampton Crown Court on 31 August.

Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Police have released images of clothing worn by Lucy McHugh when she went missing

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