Man remanded on Tia murder charge

The man accused of murdering 12-year-old Tia Sharp has appeared at the Old Bailey.

Stuart Hazell, 37, from New Addington, south London, is charged with murdering the schoolgirl between August 2 and 11.

He appeared via video-link from Belmarsh prison in south-east London, wearing an orange T-shirt and sitting next to a prison officer. No application for bail was made. Hazell was remanded in custody and will appear for a plea and case management hearing at the same court on November 19.

Tia's body was found at her grandmother Christine Sharp's home in New Addington last Friday, a week after she was reported missing.

Hazell is the partner of Ms Sharp, 46, who was arrested on suspicion of murder but bailed on Sunday pending further inquiries. Her next-door neighbour, Paul Meehan, 39, was bailed on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Police only discovered Tia's body after several visits to the terraced property, and have apologised to her mother, Natalie Sharp, for the delay.

Her body has yet to be formally identified, but Tia is named as the victim in the charge against Hazell. A post-mortem examination which was paused on Saturday night is scheduled to resume on Thursday afternoon. No cause of death has yet been identified.

It was announced on Tuesday that a serious case review has been launched into Tia's death.

Merton Council, which has responsibility for Mitcham, south London, where Tia lived with her mother, said it was "standard procedure" to carry out a review.

A provisional trial date for Hazell was set for January 21 next year.