Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Lucy McHugh funeral: Mother describes 'nightmare'

Lucy McHugh Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Lucy McHugh's body was found on 26 July - the schoolgirl went missing a day before

The mother of a schoolgirl found stabbed to death in Southampton has described the days since her daughter vanished as a "nightmare".

Lucy McHugh, 13, was found on 26 July, nearly two miles (3km) from her home.

Stacey White was speaking ahead of her daughter's funeral, which will take place at 12:00 BST.

Mrs White has requested mourners wear Lucy's favourite colours - blue and green - to the service at Hollybrook Cemetery.

Mrs White wrote on Facebook: "We hope for everyone to be respectful, police presence will be there to assist if needed (which we hope it won't be)."

Family and close friends, she said, "will be seated first inside the chapel", and added a PA system would be set up outside the chapel for other mourners.

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Media captionLucy McHugh was seen at Tesco Express half an hour after she left home

Lucy was last seen walking along Coxford Road, past a Tesco Express store, at 09:30 BST on 25 July.

Her body was found a day later.

Hampshire Police have undertaken a massive operation since then, with officers handing out leaflets in Southampton to "jog people's memory" about the hours leading up to her death.

The Rev Sean Blackman, who will lead the service, said it would mark Lucy's "life, curiosity, fun and excitement".

He told BBC Radio Solent: "There is something about children that always touches our hearts, regardless of our age.

"There are a number of tracks from Christina Perri and Celine Dion which bring out this feeling of celebrating the life of a loved one, but dealing with a sense of loss as well."

Image copyright Hollybrook Cemetery
Image caption The service will take place at Hollybrook Cemetery in Southampton

A 24-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder and sexual activity with a child has been bailed.

The same man appeared in court on 31 July charged with withholding information relating to the case by allegedly failing to disclose his Facebook password to police.

Stephen-Alan Nicholson, of no fixed address, was remanded in custody to appear at Southampton Crown Court on 31 August.

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