Hazell pleads guilty to Tia murder

Stuart Hazell, 37, changed his plea to guilty at his trial for the murder of 12-year-old Tia Sharp at the Old Bailey today.

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Stuart Hazell jailed for Tia murder

Tia Sharp's mother has told ITV Stuart Hazell deserves to suffer.

He was jailed today for at least 38 years for killing the 12-year-old last summer.

In an exclusive interview, Tia's mother, who once dated Hazell before her mother got into a relationship with him, said she never suspected him.

The judge said Hazell's change in plea had robbed the family of finding out what happened to Tia the night she was killed, and that 'all that lay ahead of her, will now never be.'

From the Old Bailey, Ronke Phillips reports.


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Police apologise for not finding Tia's body sooner

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Scola apologised to Tia Sharp's family for the fact that police did not find her body in their first two searches of the house Stuart Hazell shared with her grandmother.

The senior investigating officer added that finding it earlier "would not have made any difference" to what happened afterwards, merely brought it forward.

The house in Croydon, south London where Tia Sharp's body was found in the loft Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The family would still have had to deal with Hazell's lies and his interest in child abuse and young girls, he said.

"The early searches were really just a look round, they were not deep searches," he added.


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Hazell committed an 'appalling and unthinkable crime'

This was an appalling and unthinkable crime, made worse by Hazell’s efforts to hide Tia’s body and disrupt the police investigation. As an adult and trusted family member, he had responsibility for ensuring Tia’s safety. Instead, he abused and murdered her.

As the details of this case unfolded in the trial, it became increasingly clear that Hazell had little choice but to plead guilty. This was strong case, jointly prepared by the CPS and the police, and I would like to pay tribute to the prosecution and police teams.

We recognise that this is an extremely distressing time for the family and I would like to pay tribute to them for their strength and fortitude throughout this case. I hope that this prosecution provides some small measure of comfort for them at this time.

– Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London
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