Murder of Tia Sharp trial begins at Old Bailey


First day of trial of Stuart Hazell accused of murdering Tia Sharpe, 12, in August 2012

First day of the murder trial of Stuart Hazell accused of murdering Tia Sharpe, 12, in August 2012

The trial of Stuart Hazell has started at the Central Criminal Court with the prosecution alleging that he was responsible for sexually assaulting and murdering schoolgirl, Tia Sharp, 12, in New Addington, Croydon in August 2012.

Hazell, 37, the former boyfriend of Tia’s grandmother Christine Bicknell denies a charge of murder between August 2 and August 10 last year.

Her body was found one week after she went missing in the loft of her grandmother’s house.

On the first day of the trial, Prosecuting QC, Andrew Edis, outlined the case for the Crown and alleged that Hazell took a photograph of his victim when she was lying naked and dead on her bed at her grandmother’s house.

It is alleged the picture was taken on the day of her death last year. Tia’s mother and other family members left the courtroom in distress as the details was outlined in court.

He said:  “The prosecution case is that Stuart Hazell had a sexual attraction for Tia Sharp, that there was some form of sexual assault, something of that kind, and that was the reason he killed her.”

The Central Criminal Court, and dome with lady of justice at the top.

The Central Criminal Court and dome with lady of justice at the top.

He said  “The issue in the end for you to decide will be this. Has the evidence made you sure that Tia Sharp was murdered or do you think it may have been an accident?”

“What we know is that after she died he put her in the loft. That’s not what you would normally do with someone who has suffered an accident. Generally speaking, if someone has an accident and you are concerned about their health you call an ambulance,” Andrew Edis told the court.

The jury of five women and seven men  were warned that they would find some of the evidence distressing.

The loft had been inspected by police two times before the victim’s body was discovered largely because it had begun to decompose:  “It was quite well hidden. It has been moved up and then across within the loft space,” said Edis. She had been “carefully wrapped” in a sheet first and then bin bags, then sealed with sellotape.

“As you can imagine, that’s not a particularly easy thing to do with a dead human being, but that’s what had been done,” the prosecutor told the jury.

It was alleged two memory cards were found in the house, one in the kitchen and one hidden on top of a door frame that contained “extensive pornography” including two “Grade One” images of young under-age girls, and two “extreme images” featuring bestiality. Pictures and video clips of Tia sleeping were also found. It was alleged there was evidence of the defendant visiting pornography of interest to paedophiles.

The victim last used her Blackberry mobile phone and messaging to speak to a friend at 12.42am on August 3. The prosecutor said “After that, the prosecution say, she did not use her mobile phone ever again.”

Edis told the jury “The prosecution say that this is clearly no accident.”

“First there’s a dead girl in the loft who died in that house that night.”

“Second, there’s a photograph of an apparently dead girl taken in that house that night at three or six in the morning or thereabouts and taken, it would appear if she was dead, by somebody who wanted to photograph her in that state for the purposes of sexual excitement. She was, it would appear, injured at the time of the photograph.”

Tia’s grandmother “was not by any means always at home when she would stay at that house because of her job,” the court was told.

The jury heard that police, local residents and media laid siege to the house in the days after she went missing.

The prosecution played an interview the defendant recorded with ITN on August 9, during which Andrew Edis alleged Hazell was “playing the role of bereaved grandparent who wanted nothing more than the child to be found and to come home.”

The picture of Tia Sharp released by her family and the Met Police during the search for her in August 2012

The picture of Tia Sharp released by her family and the Met Police during the search for her in August 2012

He described the victim as “a golden angel” and denied knowing what had happened to her. He later told a prison officer that Tia had fallen down the stairs while they were playing and had broken her neck. The prosecuting QC said after hearing all the evidence and alleged lies of the defendant: “By the end of all that, members of the jury, the prosecution will suggest that you will be in a very good position to decide whether you are sure if this was murder or some sort of accident.”

The trial continues Wednesday 8 May.

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