A SOUTHAMPTON man has been found guilty of the murder of city schoolgirl Lucy McHugh.

Stephen Nicholson, 25, of no fixed address, was found guilty by jury members today following a trial at Winchester Crown Court.

The decision was a unanimous decision, made after eight hours of deliberation by jury members.

Nicholson, pictured below, was also found guilty, by  a majority decision, of three counts of rape against Lucy.

He was also found guilty of one count of sexual activity with a child - a different girl who was 14 at the time.

Daily Echo:

He was found not guilty of another count of sexual activity with Lucy when she was 13.

The verdict comes after Lucy's body was found at Southampton Sports Centre on July 26 last year.

A post mortem examination revealed the 13-year-old had suffered multiple stab wounds, including three fatal wounds to her neck.

Nicholson, who denied all of the charges against him, is due to be sentenced tomorrow morning.

The verdicts come after a month-long trial at Winchester Crown Court.

Prosecutor William Mousley QC previously told the jury that Nicholson killed Lucy after she told him she was pregnant.

He said the defendant, who had been living in Lucy mother’s home as a lodger, had been exploiting the vulnerable teenager during a secret year-long sexual relationship.

Mr Mousley told the jury that Nicholson had “a desire to silence Lucy" after exchanging messages with the teenager the night before she disappeared - on July 25.

Her body was discovered the following day, on July 26.

Home office pathologist Basil Purdue said Lucy had sustained multiple stab wounds, most likely from a kitchen knife.