A SOUTHAMPTON man has denied the murder of Southampton schoolgirl Lucy McHugh.

Stephen Nicholson, 24, of no fixed abode, pleaded not guilty to murdering the 13-year-old, whose body was found at Southampton Sports Centre on July 26, 2018.

When he appeared at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday, he also denied a charge of sexual activity with a child under the age of 16.

He entered no plea to a charge of raping a person under the age of 13.

A trial date has been set for June 18, with a pre-trial hearing scheduled for May 10.