A man from Michigan stabbed his 5-year-old stepdaughter to death and set her body on fire, after he "snapped” when she asked for food, a court has been told.

Thomas McClellan, 25, said he had knocked Luna Michelle Younger to the ground, sat on her and stabbed her in the chest during the incident in November when the child would not leave his room, Detective Chuck Buckland of the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office testified this week.

Mr Buckland told the court in Ingham County, Michigan, that Mr McClellan then wrapped the girl’s body in blankets, doused with alcohol an then set it on fire.

The Lansing State Journal said Mr McClellan has been charged with murder, first-degree child abuse and first-degree arson. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of the crime. It is not clear if he has formally entered a plea.

Firefighter Corey Drolett said that when he entered the apartment, he did not initially see Luna under the blankets.

He said that when he found the body, he “knew the victim had expired”.

Although he was sure she was already dead, Mr Drolett passed her body through the window and instructed another firefighter to “very lightly” perform CPR.

“Based on the situation [I] felt that would show [the mother] that we were attempting some effort,” he said during testimony, the newspaper reported.

Judge Thomas Boyd ruled that there was sufficient evidence to hold Mr McClellan for trial on all three charges. A hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court will be set at a later date, the newspaper said.

Courtesy The Independent