Probably Died on 3rd August 2012
Tia Sharp (12), a schoolgirl, was killed in her grandmother’s house in New Addington, Croydon, South London, probably on 3rd August 2012.
Stuart Hazell (37) the partner of Tia’s grandmother Christine Sharp, faced trial for her murder at the Old Bailey. On 13th May 2013, after days of harrowing evidence, he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty. He awaits sentence.
Tia Sharp was at first reported missing, but her body was later found in the house on 10th August, hidden in the loft. Stuart Hazell was later arrested, following a search, after he was identified by a member of the public.
After Tia’s death, it was reported in the media that her grandmother, a care worker, had left Tia in Hazell’s care while she worked a nightshift on the 3rd August. It is understood Tia regularly visited her grandmother’s house.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told jurors at the start of the trial “The prosecution case is that Stuart Hazell had a sexual attraction for Tia Sharp, that there was some form of sexual assault, something of that kind, and that was the reason he killed her.” Mr Edis said that Hazell took a photograph of the naked child dead on a bed. He showed jurors an image of a child said to be Tia, taken on 3rd August. Blood can be seen on the bed linen in the picture. It is reported that the child’s body was placed in a pornographic position. A pathologist who examined the body, as well as the photograph, said marks on Tia’s body suggested she had been moved after she died, and “posed” in the position seen in the photograph.
The court heard Tia had used Blackberry messaging on her mobile phone to speak to a friend until 12.40am on 3 August. Mr Edis said it seemed sensible to suggest she had died after that time, and told the court the photograph allegedly of Tia dead on the bed was taken at 3:00am at the earliest and more likely at about 6:00am that day.
He told the jury that two memory cards were found in the house, one in the kitchen and one, hidden on top of a doorframe, which contained “extensive pornography” featuring young girls. He said there were also three video clips of Tia sleeping in her bedroom and 11 still images of her sleeping. The jury heard there were also “professional” pornographic images of young girls performing sex acts. Mr Edis said internet history on Mr Hazell’s phone showed searches of a website that was popular with paedophiles. He said Hazell had also visited a pornographic website on 6th August, while Tia’s body lay stored in the loft.
Mr Edis told the jury the loft had been inspected by police twice before Tia’s body was found. He told them “They only found it, I am afraid, because it had started to smell,” adding “It was quite well hidden. It had been moved up and then across within the loft space.” He said her body had been “carefully wrapped” in a sheet first and then bin bags, before being sealed with tape.
Hazell told the police Tia had gone out to buy shoes on 3rd August and had not returned.
It has been reported that Tia’s mother, Natalie Sharp (31) who lives in Mitcham, was previously in a relationship with Hazell.
Note: This report was drawn from reports in the BBC and Sky News. It was compiled on 8th May 2013 and amended on 14th May 2013.