FACEBOOK chiefs have confirmed the company did help police in the Lucy McHugh murder investigation.

The social media giant stepped in to assist Hampshire Police in the probe, following the 13-year-old’s death.

Through a legal process, known as the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT), Facebook gave information about messages exchanged between Lucy and Nicholson on the night before she disappeared.

The information, which came through on the day of the trial, did not contain the contents of the messages.

A spokesperson for Facebook said: “This is a tragic case and our hearts go out to the family of Lucy McHugh. We have worked closely with Hampshire Police throughout this case.

“We agree that the MLAT process can be far too slow which is why we have actively lobbied for reforms to EU, U.S and UK laws to allow us, and others, to directly and more quickly provide information to UK law enforcement authorities.”

The investigation into Lucy’s death, described by the CPS as “one of the largest in criminal history”, was obstructed when Nicholson refused to give police his Facebook password - for which he was previously jailed for 14 months.

After applying through the US courts for access to his account, prosecutors only received a log of his Facebook contacts with Lucy, but not the content of any messages.

It finally arrived the day that the trial started.

The defendant, who admitted dealing cannabis, claimed he had not wanted to reveal his drug contacts via his Facebook account out of fear they would attack his family.