A FACEBOOK chief has said her 'heart goes out' to the family of murdered Southampton schoolgirl Lucy McHugh - and admitted the social media giant is too slow at handing over information to the police.

But Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety at Facebook, has blamed outdated legislation for being unable to release information quickly.

It comes after the American social media giant was criticised over not handing over the Facebook password of the prime suspect in the Lucy McHugh murder investigation.

The 13-year-old was found stabbed to death in a woodland at Southampton Sports Centre on July 26.

Last month, Stephen Nicholson, 24, from Southampton, was jailed for failing to disclose his password during into police investigation into the teenager's death.

Miss Davis, who spent years working for the US Attorney General before joining the platform, reportedly said: "I, and we share the frustration that this legal process can take time, which is why we are working out legal reforms which would avoid these delays.

Miss Davis, who has a 21-year-old daughter, said: "First of all obviously my heart goes out to the family of Lucy.

"I think it is really important people know we are working with the authorities, there is a process by which the police can get the information that they are looking for.'

Miss Davis said the lengthy process was in place to 'protect the privacy of people on the platform'.

However, Facebook say that had police been alerted to suspicious interactions on Facebook before Lucy's death, then the site would have been able to provide quicker access to information from the page.

Miss Davis, who is based in Washington DC, reportedly said: "We are co-operating and working with law enforcement and the other thing to note is when someone is in imminent harm we also work directly with authorities to quickly get that information.

The process for police in Britain asking for information from Facebook must fill out an application for a US court order, to compel Facebook to co-operate.

The process can take up to six months.

However, Facebook is lobbying the US government for change.

Miss Davis reportedly said: "We certainly are interested in co-operating with government to determine what is the best regulation in this area."

Lucy's body was found in a wooded area of Southampton Sports Centre at 7.45am on Thursday, July 26.

The 13-year-old was located near to a cricket pitch and the Alpine Sports Centre of the facility.

Police cordoned off the area later confirmed they had launched a murder investigation.

The cordon remained in place for several days and thorough search was conducted of the area around where Lucy's body was discovered.

On two occasions, members of the public banded together to help search the ground of the Sports Centre for a murder weapon.

Police believe a bladed article, perhaps a knife or scissors, were used in the murder.

They also searched Lucy's home in Mansel Road East and another home on the same road.

Police were later spotted searching an area of nearby Hollybrook Cemetery.

Since then, officers investigating Lucy's death have continued to sift through more than 15,000 hours of CCTV footage from more than 250 locations.

They've also collected more than 900 items and received over 200 reports from members of the public.

Almost 200 officers have been involved in the investigation - including those from the National Crime Agency.

Last month, Stephen Nicholson, 24, from Southampton, was jailed for 14 months for failing to disclose his password during into police investigation into the teenager's death.

Mitigating on behalf of Nicholson, Richard Tutt said Nicholson didn't want to hand over his password because police may find information about cannabis on his Facebook.