Stuart Hazell sentenced to life for murder of Croydon schoolgirl Tia Sharp


Hazell changed his plea to guilty after previously denying the murder.


By SWLondoner staff

The killer of Croydon schoolgirl Tia Sharp has been sentenced to 38 years in jail after admitting killing the 12-year-old.

Stuart Hazell, the partner of Tia’s grandmother, had previously denied the murder but yesterday shocked the Old Bailey after changing his plea to guilty.

On the fifith day of the trial, his barrister, Lord Carlile QC, said his client believed Tia’s family had suffered enough and did not want them to go through any more.

Judge Justice Nicol said he could not impose a whole life tariff on the 38-year-old as he was not certain whether Hazell’s motivation was sexual or pre-meditated.

“Tia’s mother trusted you to look after Tia. You have breached that trust in the most grievous way possible,” he said.

“You said you wished to avoid causing further stress to Tia’s family. That is commendable, but they have had to endure four days of a very public trial.”

Tia’s father, Steven Carter, said earlier today that Hazell should complete his sentence and then be hung.

During the trial, the court heard that Hazell sexually assaulted and murdered Tia at her grandmother’s house last August, before hiding her body in the loft.

They were also shown an image of a child, alleged to be Tia, which was said to have been taken after she had been killed. During searches of the home, officers also found Hazell had searched the internet for child pornography.

The court heard Hazell had previous convictions for offences including drug dealing, racially aggravated common assault, burglary and causing grievous bodily harm.

“Because of the way you concealed her in the loft the family were subjected to agony. Time after time you spun a wholly false story that Tia had disappeared,” said Mr Nicol.

“I accept that none of your previous convictions were for previous violence. You have a psychiatric history of suicide attempts and self harm. Your coping strategies were drugs and alcohol.”

In a statement read out in court on Monday, Ms Sharp said: “I gave the ultimate trust to Stuart.

“Sometimes I feel pity, that I want to hurt him, but I can never hurt him like he has hurt me.”

Croydon Council has said the house where Tia’s body was found, along with two houses either side, will be knocked down.

Councillor Oonagh Moulton, Merton’s Conservative spokesman for Education and Children’s Care, said her deepest sympathy goes to Tia’s family, friends and the community.

 “I am pleased to see that justice has been done,” she said.

“It is important that the Labour administration and our Children’s Services are properly held to account on this matter. I have spoken with the Director of Children’s Services Yvette Stanley today but further to my briefing with her on 30 April I am yet to see a hard copy of the draft Serious Case Review report.

Photo courtesy of ITN via YouTube, with thanks.

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