Lucy McHugh (pictured) died after being stabbed and slashed 27 times in a frenzied knife attack in Southampton, a court heard. Stephen Nicholson, 25, who was a lodger at her home, is on trial for her murder
The stepfather of a schoolgirl allegedly murdered by their lodger has revealed he told the accused to move out of his home months before the brutal killing.
Lucy McHugh, 13, died from 'catastrophic bleeding' after she was stabbed and slashed 27 times by a single-bladed knife in Southampton.
Stephen Nicholson, 25, who had been renting the room opposite the girl's, is on trial for her murder in July 2018 after allegedly having a sexual relationship with the child since she was 12.
Her stepfather Richard Elmes, 22, told Winchester Crown Court that Nicholson was one of his childhood best friends and that he was letting the accused 'sofa surf' at his home in Southampton.
Mr Elmes, the partner of Lucy's mother Stacey, 31, said: 'In December 2017, we had a discussion that he needed to move out. But it didn't happen.'
He added that Lucy and Nicholson had frequent arguments but they seemed like 'normal, family disputes'.
Mr Elmes added: 'He [Nicholson] didn't deal with her very well. Arguing with Lucy would be like arguing with a brick wall, she wanted to win and he didn't like that.
Lucy's stepfather Richard Elmes (left, pictured today), 22, said she and Stephen Nicholson (right, on CCTV on the day he allegedly stabbed Lucy to death) frequently had 'petty rows'
'On July 22, last year, I was in the garden and I heard an argument. I went inside and told Mr Nicholson he should grab his stuff and leave as the situation was not getting any better.
'As he left, she said in a calm but loud voice "Well I have got a hold on you anyway".
'Lucy came to me after that and said she wanted to speak to us when Stacey got back home, but that conversation didn't ever happen.'
Mr Elmes said he had known Nicholson since he was six but that their friendship had halted over the years when Nicholson was in prison.
He also told the court he once walked in on Lucy and Nicholson in an embrace but that his friend passed it off as a 'cuddle'.
Stacey White, mother of Lucy McHugh, arrives at Winchester Crown Court on June 20
Mr Elmes said: 'I would say it was like Lucy had a schoolgirl crush on Mr Nicholson.
'There was one occasion when I came downstairs and opened the kitchen door and he was stood stiff as Lucy was giving him a hug. He pushed her away as I walked in.
Pathologist Basil Purdue, pictured at Winchester Crown Court today, examined the body after it was found at a sports centre
'He said she was upset and wanted a cuddle but he didn't want to cuddle her.'
The court previously heard Lucy kept a diary and wrote letters