Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Lucy McHugh 'barricaded room to stop violent lodger'

Lucy McHugh Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Lucy McHugh's body was found in woodland at Southampton Sports Centre

A schoolgirl barricaded her bedroom door to stop her mother's "violent" lodger, who is accused of her murder, from coming in at night, a court has heard.

Lucy McHugh, 13, was later found stabbed to death near Southampton Outdoor Sports Centre in July 2018.

Jurors were also told the girl's family had asked her school friend to slap her "on several occasions".

Stephen Nicholson, 25, denies Lucy's murder.

Lucy's friend, who cannot be named, said she was "really worried" when Lucy told her in 2017 she had a "boyfriend" who was "a 23 or 24-year-old" who "took her virginity", Winchester Crown Court heard.

"She looked really uncomfortable and almost scared," the friend said in a video interview played in court.

She said concerns about Mr Nicholson were dismissed as "fantasy land" by Lucy's mother.

Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Stephen Nicholson denies Lucy's murder

Later, Lucy confided in the girl again, the jury heard.

"She told me Stephen's drinking and smoking weed was getting worse and he was getting more violent with her.

"About two weeks before she died she told me Stephen was slapping her.

"I asked whether she told Stacey [Lucy's mother]. She said she did, but Stacey told her to get out of her fantasy land because it would ruin someone's life.

"Then a week before she died she told me Stephen got really drunk and high and tried to get into her room and to stop him she put her bed against the door."

When asked by prosecution barrister William Mousley QC how Lucy was after that, the witness replied: "Terrified."

'Flinging her about'

The girl said she stopped raising concerns in order to "protect" Lucy from her family.

"Her mum started getting physical with her, flinging her about," the girl said.

"On several occasions they asked me to slap her for lying but I never put a hand on her, I refused to do it."

When questioned in court, the witness admitted she had not initially told police about events she later described in her video interview.

James Newton-Price QC, defending, asked her whether she really had been asked to slap Lucy by her family.

"Yes... about things she was saying at school about her and Stephen," the girl insisted.

The barrister asked if she had questioned whether the bedroom barricade really happened.

"No, I believed her," she replied.

Mr Nicholson also denies three charges of raping Lucy when she was 12 and two counts of sexual activity with a child once she had turned 13.

The care worker, formerly of Mansel Road East, also denies sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl in 2012.

The trial continues.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites