Man accused of murdering Tia Sharp appears in court

Stuart Hazell appeared at magistrates' court earlier today charged with the schoolgirl's murder

The step-grandfather of missing 12-year-old Tia Sharp appeared in court today charged with her murder.

Stuart Hazell, 37, appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court in South East London via video-link.

Hazell was charged after a body, believed to be that of Tia, was found in the loft of the home he shares with his partner, Christine Sharp, Tia’s grandmother.

A prosecutor told journalists that Tia’s body had been found wrapped in a bed sheet and a bin liner.

Tia was reported missing on Friday, August 3 after apparently leaving Christine Sharp’s home near Croydon to go shopping.

Police searched the house four times, and blamed ‘human error’ on not finding the body until Friday (August 10).

A nationwide manhunt for Hazell was sparked after he went missing, but he was arrested hours later after an 11-year-old girl spotted him buying vodka in an off-licence and alerted authorities.

Mrs Sharp was also arrested on suspicion of murder and her neighbour Paul Meeham was arrested on suspicion of assisting offenders amid allegations that he helped move the body between lofts.

A postmortem is expected to be carried out this week.

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