AN investigation into Southampton social services launched after the murder of schoolgirl Lucy McHugh is being delayed.

As previously reported, Southampton City Council has launched a serious case review into the involvement of social services with the 13-year-old who was found dead in July 2018.

It comes as in July 2019 carer Stephen Nicholson, 25, of no fixed address, was found guilty of Lucy’s murder following a month-long trial at Winchester Crown Court.

At the time jurors heard how concerns about Lucy’s relationship with Nicholson had been raised twice to the council’s Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

After Nicholson was jailed the city council said the serious case review was expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

The authority has now said it can’t comment on the reasons for any delay.

But a spokesman for the city council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The Serious Case Review is ongoing and at present there is no confirmed date for publication. I can confirm that the SCR is expected to be completed this year.”

In July the court heard how safeguarding chiefs at St Anne’s Catholic School, where Lucy attended in Year 7, had alerted social services after she was caught sending Snapchat messages to a man named “Stephen”.

Another report was made by teachers at Redbridge Community School after rumours began to circulate that Lucy had an older boyfriend, named “Stephen”, who was living at her home, the court was told.

As previously reported, the rumours were reported to social services but on both occasions no further action was taken.

The city council had previously said a serious case review is being undertaken by Southampton Safeguarding Partnership.

As previously reported, Nicholson was jailed for life with a minimum sentence of 33 years after a jury found him guilty of Lucy’s murder.

Nicholson was also found guilty of three counts of rape against Lucy, when she was 12, and sexual activity with another girl, who was 14 at the time.

As previously reported, Lucy’s body was found at Southampton Sports Centre on July 26, 2018.

A post mortem examination revealed she had suffered multiple stab wounds, including three fatal wounds to her neck. Dozens of people paid tribute to her describing her as “kind and generous”.