There are some crimes that people just don’t get over. Some crimes have so severely shocked a nation that it could take decades to overcome. The murder of 12-year-old Tia Sharp has left the UK scarred from the traumatic and brutal nature of the crime, even five years later.
On Friday August 3, Tia Sharp reportedly left her grandmother Christine Sharp’s home in New Addington, South London, around midday to go shopping for shoes. She never came home.
Three days later, the Sharp family made a public and highly emotional plea for Tia’s safe return. A massive search took place. About 55 sightings were reported by the public to police, but none were credible. Over 800 hours of CCTV footage had been collected for 80 police officers to pour over.
Finally, they spotted her. With Stuart Hazell.
On August 9, Hazell made an appearance in an interview with ITV News where he denied any wrongdoing.
The next day, however, just one week after Tia Sharp had gone missing, police discover her body in a black bed sheet in a black bag inside of Christine Sharp’s loft. She had been sexually abused and smothered. This was the fourth time police had searched the property.
At 8:25 pm that evening, Hazell is arrested in the South London borough Merton after police received a tip from a member of the public. Two days later, he was charged with the murder of Tia Sharp.
On May 13, Hazel plead guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He will be 75 before he’ll be eligible for parole.
It’s no wonder why a crime like this shocked the nation. A 12-year-old girl was taken, molested, and murdered by her step-grandfather, as he publicly protested his innocence, and left to decompose in her grandmother’s house stuffed in a bag.
A frantic nationwide search went underway, police, neighbors, and communities searched high and low for a missing little girl. Only to find that she had been in her home the entire time. The case involved neighbors wasting police time, police doing a less-than-thorough investigation, and a tragic result.
Five years later, a documentary about the crime titled The Murder of Tia Sharp: My Daughter aired on Channel 5. In the film, Tia’s father Steven Carter expresses his regret as he reveals his recollections of the traumatic affair. It’s clear, and not surprising, that Carter is still grieving the loss of his little girl.
“I massively blame myself,” Carter confesses. “I should have done more as a father. I had Tia every holiday until things turned sour between me and her mum. If that hadn’t happened there’s every possibility that Tia would have been staying with me that August instead of being at her nan’s where she was killed by someone she trusted and called ‘grandad.’”