Sharp accused to appear in court

Sharp accused to appear in court
Channel 4 News
13 August 2012

The man accused of killing schoolgirl Tia Sharp is due to appear in court on Monday charged with her murder.

Stuart Hazell is charged with the murder of Tia Sharp, two days after a body was discovered in the house he shares with Christine Sharp, Tia's grandmother, in Croydon.

His arrest followed a massive search for Tia which involved around 100 police officers and countless members of the local community.

Despite visiting her grandmother's property in New Addington, south London, on several occasions, investigators only discovered Tia's body on Friday evening.

Police have not revealed where it was stowed but officers were seen taking a ladder into the house, sparking suggestions it may have been concealed in the loft.

Hazell, who was previously interviewed as a potential witness, became the subject of a manhunt following the grim find.

He was arrested hours later in the south London borough of Merton after he was apparently spotted by a schoolgirl who saw him buying alcohol in an off-licence.

Neighbour detained

Christine Sharp was similarly arrested on suspicion of murder and freed on bail.

Her next-door neighbour Paul Meehan, 39, was detained by detectives on suspicion of assisting an offender. He was also bailed pending further inquiries.

Officers have apologised to Tia's mother, Natalie Sharp, for the delay in locating her body.

Yesterday the grieving mother wept as she left a tribute to her daughter alongside hundreds of flowers and cards which carpet the pavement near the 46-year-old grandmother's home.

A note believed to have been left by Ms Sharp, 30, read: "Our baby girl, we love you very much and always will.

"Sorry baby that this has happened, I wish I was there to protect you.

"We know you are safe now and you are at home with us everywhere we go. Love you, mum, dad, Jack and Harry. XXX".

Ms Sharp held her face in her hands as she arrived at the shrine, supported by her partner David Niles.

The pair left a white orchid and soft toy at the site, along with the note.

It remains unclear how Tia died. A post-mortem examination on the body was paused on Saturday night and is expected to resume this week.

Scotland Yard said: "Although officers await formal identification of a body found at The Lindens on Friday 10 August, the victim is named in the murder charge as 12-year-old Tia Sharp."

The dead girl was only found after police took a body recovery dog to the scene.

Metropolitan Police South East London Area Commander Neil Basu has said human error was to blame for the protracted search and conceded mistakes were made during a second examination of Sharp's property.

Speaking on Saturday, Mr Basu apologised to Ms Sharp, who lives in an apartment block in Mitcham, south London.

Neighbours have spoken of their anger after spending days searching for the girl.

Dale Robertson, 44, said: "There's a mixture of anger and heartbreak. People feel aggrieved. They were duped. Even people who couldn't get out on the searches have posted up on Facebook that they are angry and they were duped."

Flowers, teddy bears and candles remained near the house where the body was found after neighbours and friends left tributes to Tia. Hazell will appear via video link at Camberwell Green magistrates court, south London.

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