Murdered schoolgirl’s father will not attend funeral ‘to avoid conflict’

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The father of murdered schoolgirl Lucy McHugh has said he will not be attending his daughter’s funeral to “avoid unnecessary conflict”.

The body of the 13-year-old was found in woodland at Southampton Sports Centre on July 26. She had been stabbed to death.

Her mother Stacey White has arranged for her funeral to take place at Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton, on August 27.

The ceremony is to be a “celebration of life” and those attending are asked to wear green and blue – Lucy’s favourite colours.

Lucy’s father Andy McHugh has posted on Facebook that he feels unable to attend.

He wrote: “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 4 years but it doesn’t mean I am not hurting she was my daughter as well.”

Mr McHugh previously released a statement through Hampshire Police saying: “This is the most difficult and distressing time following the violent loss of my daughter Lucy.

“I am very grateful for the prayers and support being offered.

“I ask for privacy at this time.”

Detectives are still appealing for witnesses to Lucy’s final movements after she left her home on the morning of Wednesday July 25.

CCTV images have been released showing 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.

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting Operation Refund or make a report using the following link:

The charity Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for Lucy’s murder.

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 was remanded in custody by Southampton Magistrates’ Court after he was charged under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) for failing to provide his Facebook password to detectives.

The 24-year-old will next appear at Southampton Crown Court on August 31.

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