THE killer of Southampton schoolgirl Lucy McHugh will not have his sentence reviewed, the Daily Echo can today reveal.

Stephen Nicholson was jailed for life with a minimum of 33 years in July after he was found guilty of the murder and rape of the 13-year-old.

But the Echo can today reveal that Nicholson’s case was put forward to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) through the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.

The scheme gives members of the public the chance to ask the Attorney General to refer certain sentences for review if they believe them to be too low.

However, a spokesperson for the AGO says the sentence will not be referred to the Court of Appeal for review.

The spokesperson said: “After careful consideration the Solicitor General concluded that he could not refer the case of Stephen Nicholson to the Court of Appeal.

“A referral under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme to the Court of Appeal can only be made if a sentence is not just lenient but unduly so, such that the sentencing judge made a gross error or imposed a sentence outside the range of sentences.

Daily Echo:

“The threshold is a high one, and the test was not met in this case.”

The Echo can also reveal that Nicholson has not applied to the Court of Appeal to have his sentence reduced.

A spokesperson for the Court of Appeal says the court has not received an application under his name.

The appeal must be made within 28 days of the sentence being passed.

As previously reported in the Echo, Nicholson, 25, was jailed for life in July.

It followed a four week trial at Winchester Crown Court, in which Nicholson was found guilty by a jury of the murder of schoolgirl Lucy McHugh.

He was also found guilty of three counts of rape against Lucy and one count of sexual activity with another child, who was 14 at the time.

Nicholson was arrested 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.

During the trial, the jury heard Nicholson, who had been living as a lodger in Lucy’s Southampton home, had sexually abused the teenager for a year before her death.

The court heard that Nicholson murdered Lucy after she messaged him the previous night to tell him she was pregnant – though she was not.

Daily Echo:

The Honourable Mrs Justice May DBE sentenced Nicholson, of no fixed address, to a life sentence, with a minimum term of 33 years, at which point he will be eligible for parole.

According to official guidance from the Sentencing Council, depending on the facts of the offence the starting point for the minimum time served in prison for an adult

ranges from 15 to 30 years.

In cases where the offender brings a knife to the scene and uses it to commit murder, as in the case of Nicholson, the starting point is 25 years for an offender aged 18 or over.

Having set the minimum term, the judge will then take into account any aggravating or mitigating factors that may amend the minimum term either up or down.

Aggravating factors which may increase sentences include a significant degree of planning or premeditation and the fact that the victim was particularly vulnerable because of age or disability.