Stuart Hazell appeared by video link at the Camberwell Green Magistrates Court this morning charged with murder.
In the brief appearance he was remanded and the case was referred to the Old Bailey where Hazell will appear, again by video link, on Wednesday.
Although the body found in a loft at the house of Sharp’s grandmother in The Lindens, New Addington, last Friday has yet to be formally identified, the victim named in the murder charge is that of Tia Sharp.
Hazell spoke only to confirm his name and address and to confirm he understood the charge, that he murdered Tia between August 2 and 11.
The full details of the murder were not read in court but further information about the body came to light. On Friday police found the body wrapped in a black sheet inside a bag in the loft of the house Hazell shared with Tia Sharp’s grandmother, Christine Sharp, 46.
Sharp was also arrested on suspicion of murder on Friday but has been bailed and no charges made. Her neighbour, Paul Meehan, 39, was also arrested on suspicion of aiding an offender and bailed without charge.
Today police announced they would conduct a full review of the investigation and how it took so long to find the body, despite searching the address at The Lindens several times, including with a sniffer-dog prior to discovering the body on Friday.
Yesterday an initial review concluded that ‘human error’ was responsible for the omission and said they had apologised to Tia’s mother.
None of Tia’s family attended the Court hearing today but her mother, Natalie Sharp, 30, visited the memorial set up in The Lindens in New Addington yesterday. Visiting the growing pile of flowers with her partner David Niles, 29, she was visibly upset as she laid flowers and a card in memory of her daughter. The card read: “Sorry baby that this has happened, I wish I was there to protect you. We know you are safe now and you are at home with us everywhere we go. Love you, mum, dad, Jack and Harry. XXX”
Tia lived with her mother and step-father in Mitchem, Surrey, but often stayed at her grandmother’s house in New Addington.
Tia’s father, Stephen Crater, has also paid tribute to his daughter as well, erecting a banner and laying flowers at the growing memorial. He took time to read some of the hundreds of cards and messages which all express the grief of friends, neighbours and local residents, one read: “RIP Tia. Sleep well angel.”
Residents of New Addington came together to search for Tia after she was reported missing on 3 August. Hundreds of people printed and distributed posters and fliers and searched for clues of the whereabouts of the girl before police found the body a week later and the missing persons investigation became a murder inquiry.
Tia Sharp: Timeline
August 2: Tia visits the Co-op store in New Addington, Croydon around 4.15pm and is captured on CCTV
August 3: Tia was said to have slept late and left her Grandmother’s house in The Lindens, New Addington around midday. The family raise the alarm around 6pm.
August 4: Police focus their efforts on CCTV as the search for Tia gets under way in earnest. Family and friends take to social media to raise the profile of their search.
August 5: Celebrities begin to join the campaign to search for Tia. Local residents and friends set up Facebook groups, print posters and fliers and take to the streets to look for signs of the missing girl. Tia’s family make a public plea for information as no confirmed sightings of her on CCTV footage after her disappearance are forthcoming.
August 6: Police release CCTV footage of Tia taken on August 2 and encourage the public to come forward with sightings of Tia.
August 7: The Sun newspaper offers a reward for information that leads to Tia being found. The police search continues, with officers scouring local woodland area, Birch Wood.
August 8: After speaking with the family for around an hour police return with a dog and search the home where Tia was last seen before she went missing.
August 9: Police search bins around Christine Sharp’s home as their search continues. A witness comes forward and says he saw Tia leaving Christine Sharp’s home around midday.
August 10: Police search Sharp’s home again and leave with evidence in bags, returning with a sniffer dog. Christine Sharp leaves with police to give further evidence and police undertake a full forensic search of the property, leading to the discovery of a body.
August 11: Police continue their search of the property at The Lindens and the surrounding area. Locals set up a tribute to Tia near her grandmother’s home as they mourn the girl. A post mortem begins. Police site ‘human error’ as the reason for the delay in finding Tia’s body despite multiple searches and they apologise to her mother.
August 12: Stuart Hazell is charged with Tia’s murder, Christine Sharp and her neighbour are bailed. Tia’s mother, stepfather and father visit the memorial near her grandmother’s home in The Lindens, New Addington.
August 13: Stuart Hazell appears by video link at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court and is remanded. He will appear at the Old Bailey by video on Wednesday. Police say they will review their investigation.