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The torment of Tia's family: Father of murdered schoolgirl reveals mother's heartbreak at death of her 'baby girl'

Original Source:MAIL: 14 AUGUST 2012
By Anna Edwards
PUBLISHED: 10:48, 14 August 2012 | UPDATED: 14:42, 14 August 2012

*Stepgran weeps at 'surreal' events around Tia's death

*Family struggling to come to terms with grim discovery in attic

*Grandmother's boyfriend charged with schoolgirl's murder

*Serious case review launched into Tia's death by Merton Council

The father of Tia Sharp has demanded justice for his 12-year-old daughter, whose bruised body was found dumped in the loft of her grandmother's home.

Visiting a memorial of flowers, toys and tributes near the schoolgirl’s home yesterday, her natural father Steve Carter, 30, said: ‘I just want to get justice for my daughter, the proper way.

‘The last time I saw Tia she jumped in my arms. She told me about her school and what she was doing. She called me Dad. I’ll miss her for ever.’

Sympathy: Steven Carter and three women cry at the spot where mourners have gathered to pay their respects to Tia

Display of emotion: Tia's father Steven Carter is helped by police as he puts up a banner in his daughter's memory

Upset: Tia Sharp's father, Steven Carter, is supported by three women as he views the flowers left by mourners

Heartbroken: Steve Carter, Tia's father, visits the scene close to where Tia's body was found

Mr Carter spoke after his 12-year-old daughter was found wrapped in a black bed sheet and a black plastic bin bag by police who had been searching for the missing schoolgirl for eight days.

It has been revealed detectives suspect the schoolgirl was probably smothered before her body was hidden in the attic.

A pathologist found no obvious major injuries to her body, leading to the theory that she was smothered or strangled.

An initial examination uncovered bruising on her lower body but forensic experts have been hampered by the badly decomposed state of the corpse when it was finally recovered from the sweltering roof space last Friday.

Although Tia had clearly been dead for some time, officers have not been able to rule out that the schoolgirl was alive when colleagues first visited the council house in New Addington, near Croydon, South London, after she vanished a week earlier.

Stuart Hazell, 37, the boyfriend of her grandmother Christine Sharp, 46, is accused of murdering Tia

Tia Sharp, 12, was found at her grandmother's home in New Addington, Croydon. Stuart Hazell has been charged with her murder.

Mr Carter added that he hasn’t spoken to Tia’s mother, his ex-partner Natalie, since news broke of their daughter’s death.

He said: ‘I spoke to her before that, I told her to go home and wait for her. I’ve not spoken to her since. She’s heartbroken, that’s her baby girl.’

Tia's 'step-grandmother' wept with grief yesterday over the death of the little girl whose body was found dumped in her grandmother's loft.

Angie Niles, whose son David is Tia's mother's boyfriend, told how she would look after the little girl every other weekend and would treat her by taking her to the shops and buying her little gifts.

She sobbed as she told The Sun: 'You see stories about Madeline McCann or James Bulger and you think it must be awful what the family are feeling.

'But you switch the telly off because it is not actually happening to you.

'It is just awful, I can't find the words to describe how terrible this is.'

Shock: Tia Sharp's mother Natalie sobs uncontrollably as she leaves a message of condolence

Devastated: Distraught David Niles and Natalie Sharp arrive to lay flowers close to Tia's body was discovered

'Surreal': The family are struggling to come to terms with Tia's gruesome death

The latest details came as her grandmother’s boyfriend Stuart Hazell, 37, appeared in court via video link accused of her murder.

The unemployed painter and decorator was not brought to court over fears a public appearance could attract a baying mob.


Wearing a dark blue T-shirt, Hazell spoke only to confirm he understood the charge he faces and his personal details, giving his address as the house he shared with Tia’s grandmother Christine.

He will appear before the Old Bailey tomorrow and was remanded in custody.

Ms Niles told The Sun that the family were struggling to come to terms with the 'surreal' events.


She said that her son, David, was in denial that the body discovered in the attic was Tia until Sunday and she has been trying to support him through the difficult times, The Sun reported

Defendant: Stuart Hazell appeared at court via video-link in front of magistrates after being charged with the murder of his step-granddaughter

In court: Tia Sharp's step-grandfather Stuart Hazell appeared via video link for fear of attracting a baying crowd

Tia's body was found wrapped in bin bags after sniffer dogs alerted police to her presence

The Metropolitan police have been widely attacked for their delays in discovering the schoolgirl's body, despite searching the house three times before they found her.

They blamed their mistake on  'human error' and have apologised to Tia's family.

Officers found Tia’s body in plain view in the loft.


Detectives are investigating whether her body was moved and whether this explains how it was missed during a two-hour search the previous Sunday.


Not the stepgran is also criticizing police for failing to keep her informed.

Ms Niles said she was visited by officers who assured her they would keep her updates, but have only visited once to say a family liaison officer would visit - but who not yet contacted her.

A serious case review has been launched into the death of the little girl.

Serious Case Reviews are carried out when a child has died to look at the role played by local agencies in the life of that child and their family. The review aims to find out if any lessons can be learned about ensuring children’s safety.

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

Chief executive Ged Curran said: 'Our thoughts and condolences go out to all those who knew Tia.


'The local safeguarding children board will now commission a serious case review, the standard procedure in a tragic case such as this. The review will be assisted by the police, health services and local authorities.'

The Government’s guidance on the matter, Working Together To Safeguard Children, states: 'The prime purpose of a Serious Case Review (SCR) is for agencies and individuals to learn lessons to improve the way in which they work both individually and collectively to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

'The lessons learned should be disseminated effectively, and the recommendations should be implemented in a timely manner so that the changes required result, wherever possible, in children being protected from suffering or being likely to suffer harm in the future.'


Tia’s 46-year-old grandmother Mrs Sharp, a carer at a Croydon home for autistic children, has not been seen since she was questioned on suspicion of murder and released on bail at the weekend.

She has been told she can never return home because of the anger of friends and neighbours.

Her next-door neighbour, Paul Meehan, 39, was questioned on suspicion of assisting an offender and released.

A carpet of floral tributes and heartfelt condolences is spread across the pavement near to where Tia was found

Tribute: David Niles, the partner of Tia Sharp's mother Natalie, lays flowers close to the schoolgirl's grandmother's house

Grief: Mourners comfort each other at a makeshift shrine for Tia Sharp near her grandmother's home in New Addington, South London


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