In an in-depth interview with ITV's Tonight, Tia Sharp's mother and grandmother tell their harrowing story and speak openly about their loss
The mother of murdered schoolgirl Tia Sharp has said the man responsible for her death "deserves to suffer".
Stuart Hazell, 37, changed his plea to guilty in the murder trial of schoolgirl Tia Sharp claiming her 'family have suffered enough'.
Arriving at court this morning Tia Sharp's family said they wanted to see justice being served when the Judge passes sentence.
The stepfather of murdered Tia Sharp, David Niles, has told Daybreak that he hopes his stepdaughter's killer "rots in jail."
The 12-year-old schoolgirl was murdered last year by her grandmother's boyfriend Stuart Hazell.
Speaking about Hazell, Mr Niles said: "I've known him for seven years and he just seemed alright to me, just alright."
When asked what sentence he would like Hazell to receive, Mr Niles added: "Life and just to never come out, no parole, at all, hope he rots in jail. I hope he's watching now, hope he rots in jail."
The grandmother of murdered schoolgirl Tia Sharp said she was "cuddled and comforted" by the 12-year-old's killer, unaware he had hidden the child's body in the loft above them.
Christine Bicknell, who had been in a relationship with Stuart Hazell for five and a half years when Tia died, said there was no evidence that she was "living with a monster", and said she felt she had failed her granddaughter. Ms Bicknell told the Daily Mirror:
– Christine Bicknell
I spent five nights in that house being cuddled and comforted by the man I loved, praying for Tia to come home safely.
Her mum, Natalie, even came round and stayed with us because we were holding each other together.
But all the time Tia's body was above our heads, all alone wrapped in bin bags...and Stuart had killed her.
Stuart Hazell will be sentenced today for the murder of 12-year-old Tia Sharp after suddenly changing his plea mid-trial.
The 37-year-old dramatically admitted to murdering the schoolgirl on the fifth day of his trial.
Previous denials meant that Tia's family were forced to sit through days of disturbing and graphic evidence, her mother Natalie Sharp leaving the court room in tears numerous times.
Hazell abruptly changed his mind and entered a guilty plea to the murder charge as the prosecution was drawing to a close.
His decision means Tia's family will never get to hear his explanation of what happened to the schoolgirl.
Stuart Hazell, who is pleaded guilty to Tia Sharp's murder today, claimed in the days following her disappearance that he would never think of harming the girl who was "like my own daughter".
In an exclusive interview with criminologist Mark Williams-Thomas for ITV News, he described Tia as a "happy-go-lucky golden angel" and made an emotional appeal for her to come home.
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 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.
The father of murdered schoolgirl Tia Sharp told reporters that he does "not see today's events as justice for Tia, merely a legal conviction".
Steven Carter added that whatever conviction Stuart Hazell receives tomorrow will not be enough, and that he should "serve his time, then be hung".
Tia Sharp's father, Steven Carter, has said he is glad Stuart Hazell changed his plea to guilty, even though he had to sit through five days of evidence in court first.
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.
– Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London
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.