Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Lucy McHugh: Murdered girl's stepdad 'fearful of attack'

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Media captionRichard Elmes was injured outside a Southampton shop

The stepfather of a murdered schoolgirl felt "frightened" when he was accused of allowing her to be sexually abused by her killer, a court has heard.

Richard Elmes, 23, was injured in Southampton two days after the family's lodger was jailed for the rape and murder of 13-year-old Lucy McHugh.

Mr Elmes told Southampton Crown Court he punched his accuser because he was scared of bystanders joining in.

Wayne Grant, 28, and Charlie Whitemore, 22, deny causing grievous bodily harm.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Lucy McHugh's body was found in woodland at Southampton Sports Centre in 2018

Lucy, the daughter of Mr Elmes' partner Stacey White, was stabbed to death in woodland in 2018.

The family's lodger, Stephen Nicholson, 25, was jailed for life on 19 July 2019 for her rape and murder.

Mr Elmes suffered a fractured elbow in the attack outside a shop in Windrush Road on 21 July, the jury previously heard.

Giving evidence, he said Mr Whitemore called him a "paedophile" in the incident, which his accuser filmed on his mobile phone.

Mr Elmes said: "He was insinuating that I had involvement within that [what happened to Lucy] and it was my fault.

"I felt unsafe, paranoid. Once that word is said, you can't control members of the public around."

Image caption Charlie Whitemore (pictured) and Wayne Grant deny inflicting grievous bodily harm

Mr Elmes said he then punched Mr Whitemore because he was "scared for what might happen in the shop".

He said Mr Grant threw him to the ground and repeatedly punched him in the head.

He continued: "I had concussion for two days and a banging headache... My elbow still hurts today."

Under cross-examination, Mr Elmes denied "lunging" towards Mr Grant and attacking Mr Whitemore out of "anger" rather than "fear".

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Mr Elmes suffered a fractured elbow in the attack, the jury heard

Mr Whitemore "decided to make a scene" after seeing Mr Elmes in the shop, prosecutors have claimed.

Mr Grant, who initially acted as peacemaker, then turned assailant in retaliation for something done by Mr Elmes, the court has previously heard.

Mr Whitemore, of Waveney Green, has pleaded guilty to a charge of battery for kicking Mr Elmes as he lay on the ground, the jury has been told.

The trial continues.

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