Paul Meehan was today jailed for five months at Croydon Magistrates' Court for wasting police time by making a false statement that he saw murdered schoolgirl Tia Sharp alive when she was already dead.
A neighbour of the grandmother of Tia Sharp was today convicted of wasting police time by giving a false statement that he had seen her alive.
Bus driver Paul Meehan, 40, who lived next door to Christine Bicknell and her murderer boyfriend Stuart Hazell, told detectives investigating the schoolgirl's disappearance he saw her walk past his home in New Addington on August 3 last year.
He told officers he was "100% sure" he saw her but the 12-year-old was already dead.
Today, at Croydon Magistrates' Court, Meehan was convicted of "causing wasteful employment of the police by making a false report".
Hazell was jailed in May for a minimum of 38 years for killing Tia.
The court heard there was no suggestion Meehan was in league with Hazell.
A magistrate trying a man who gave a false statement about seeing murdered schoolgirl Tia Sharp alive has retired to consider her verdict.
Paul Meehan lived next door to Tia's grandmother and told police he saw the missing 12-year-old walk past him at noon on Friday August 3 last year.
In fact she was already dead, murdered by her grandmother Christine Bicknell's boyfriend, Stuart Hazell, and hidden in the loft of the home the couple shared in New Addington in Croydon.
The property has since been pulled down.
The magistrate said there would be no verdict before 2pm at the earliest.
40 year old Meehan denies wasting police time by making a false statement, which he admits mistakenly making.
A neighbour of Tia Sharp's grandmother claimed he saw the schoolgirl walk towards a bus stop while he was having a cigarette in his front garden.
The court was read a statement given to police by Meehan, in which he said: "From the time I saw Tia I didn't take my eyes off her."
He added: "I think we're all willing and hoping to find Tia safe, more than anything else."
After his arrest, Meehan told officers: "I definitely saw her leave the house. Whether she came back I don't know."
Meehan denies causing wasteful employment of the police by making a false report that he had information linked to an inquiry on August 6.
Prosecutors said neighbour Paul Meehan gave Tia Sharp's family "false hope" by telling police he had seen the dead schoolgirl.
Jocelyn Ledward, prosecuting, told the court: "He described her outfit and person in detail."
Miss Ledward said Meehan's claim had the result of "compounding the family's false hope" that she was still alive.
But she told the court: "There is absolutely no suggestion Mr Meehan was in league with Stuart Hazell."
She suggested that he made the report "perhaps in order to increase his importance in the investigation".
A neighbour of the grandmother of murdered schoolgirl Tia Sharp told police that he had seen her when she was already dead, a court heard today.
Bus driver Paul Meehan, 40, from Croydon, south London, is on trial charged with wasting police time.
He was the neighbour of Christine Sharp, whose boyfriend Stuart Hazell was jailed in May for a minimum of 38 years for killing Tia 12.
The court heard that Meehan initially told police he had not seen Tia on Friday 3 August last year, but later claimed he was "100% sure" he watched her walk past his home at around noon on that date.
In an in-depth interview with ITV's Tonight, Tia Sharp's mother and grandmother tell their harrowing story and speak openly about their lossRead the full story ›
The mother of murdered Tia Sharp has told Daybreak that if she saw her daughter's killer again she would ask him "why?"
Speaking to Daybreak, Natalie Sharp said when she knew Stuart Hazell he was "soft, gentle," and "friendly", "there weren't a bad bone in him", she added.
Stuart Hazell was sentenced to a minimum term of 38 years in prison after finally admitting the murder of schoolgirl Tia Sharp.
Ms Sharp added that she trusted Hazell with all of her children, "100% explicitly".
Admitting that she wanted to visit him in jail she said she wanted to ask him why he did it, "but then is he gonna answer the questions? Then I wanna put my hands around my throat".
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.
The mother of murdered schoolgirl Tia Sharp has said the man responsible for her death "deserves to suffer".Read the full story ›