The conviction today of Stuart Hazell for the murder of 12-year-old Tia Sharp in August 2012 will, I hope, bring some closure for her family who have seen justice served. However, Hazell's conviction will never bring Tia back and her family will have to live with her loss for the rest of their lives.
Tia was murdered by a man who had gained the trust of Tia's family and who, on that day, was tasked with looking after her whilst her grandmother was at work. Hazell abused that position of trust by planning an assault on Tia that ultimately led to her murder.
The evidence was overwhelming and clearly Hazell realised he had no choice but to plead guilty. However, he put Tia's family through a week of heart-breaking evidence in court and I wish for their sakes he had admitted his guilt sooner.
Hazell is an extremely dangerous individual who poses a significant threat to young girls and it is only right that he should be imprisoned and removed from society so that he can no longer pose any risk.
– Senior Investigating Officer DCI Nick Scola
I would like to pay tribute to Tia's family for showing such courage and stamina throughout this horrendous ordeal - from the time of the murder through to the conviction - and I truly hope they can move forward with their lives in the knowledge that Hazell will now pay for his crime.