An Old Bailey jury has seen CCTV footage of New Addington window cleaner Stuart Hazell, 37, going into a mini-mart convenience store asking for help looking for Tia around seven days after the prosecution say he had sexually assaulted and then murdered her.
He was unaware that detectives were searching for him over her death. On that day they had discovered Tia’s body in the loft of the house he shared with the schoolgirl’s grandmother at the Lindens in New Addington.
Two police searches during the previous week had failed to find her, until her body’s decomposition became noticeable.
The court heard that shopkeeper Prasanna Jayakumar said Hazell looked “emotional” when he came into her shop twice.
A dog walker, Victoria Dragnet, saw Hazell on Cannon Hill Common, and said: “I thought that his eyes were glassy and he seemed to be high, in fact he looked like he was off his face. He was rough in appearance and rough in his manner, he made me feel uncomfortable to the point that I just wanted to get away.”
The jury had read to them a letter that Hazell had written to his father from Belmarsh Prison after his arrest and remand into custody in which he said Tia’s death was an accident.
He asked his father to forgive him and said he had made “one mistake and my whole world has collapsed.”
He said “it was an accident and I panicked. Stupid I know but for my stupidity I’m looking at 15 to 18 years. I regret it every second of every day and there’s nothing I can do about it.
He said “I think about taking my own life because if I don’t, someone will, that is a definite,” and added “God I hate myself.”
He wrote that he was “truly, truly sorry”, and asked that “May God have mercy on my sole (sic) even though I don’t deserve it.”
Hazell pleads not guilty to murdering his step-granddaughter Tia Sharp, 12, at the home he shared with her grandmother Christine Bicknell in August last year and the trial has been adjourned until Monday morning May 13.