Hundreds of Chinese lanterns were released by locals in New Addington in memory of murdered 12-year-old Tia Sharp, whose body was found last week.
Locals who had helped with the search for the missing Mitcham girl, met at The Lindens where her body was discovered, and joined with members of the community to mourn her death with the display of hundreds of lanterns lighting up the night sky.
A huge campaign was launched by locals and backed by celebrities after Tia Sharp was reported missing on August 3. Local residents and friends set up Facebook groups, printed posters and fliers to search for Sharp.
On August 10, Sharp’s body was discovered by police wrapped in a black sheet inside a bag in the loft of Sharp’s grandmother’s house.
Police apologised to Tia Sharp’s mother, Natalie Sharp, again today for the delay in finding her body.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “We want to learn lessons from this particular case. We have apologised and I repeat that apology today to Tia’s mum and family for not having found Tia’s body sooner.”
He went on to say he did not think one officer was to blame and that the full review would take some time.
“If we thought it was an individual human error then that would explain it, but we’re carrying out a review because we’re not happy that explains it”, he said.
“We’re trying not to have a knee-jerk reaction, we need some time to understand what happened and what failed to happen.
“That’s why we’re carrying out a review and we hope in a few weeks’ time we will have some conclusions from that, so that we make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
The grandmother, Christine Sharp, 46, was arrested on suspicion of murder on August 12, but has since been bailed with no charges made.
The grandmother’s partner Stuart Hazell, has been charged with murder, but will remain in custody until November.