Police interviewer: “So what can you tell me about the murder of Tia Sharp, Stuart?”
Stuart Hazell: “Can I have a couple of minutes with my solicitor please?”
Hazell’s early morning exit on 10 August was, in fact, a pathetic attempt to escape the inevitable. He’s caught on CCTV buying vodka in a shop in Cannon Hill Lane, South London.
He cries to a little girl in the shop. The little girl calls her father who calls the police.
That evening, at 8:25pm, they arrest the man Tia called ‘Granddad’.
The public surround the police van into which he’s placed. They want instant revenge. They are not alone:
“I prayed that one of them got their hands on him before the police did.”
Instead, the police arrest Natalie’s mother, suspecting Christine must have been involved;
“They arrested me that Friday night - five to twelve - I was released on bail at, I think it was about six, seven o’clock the Saturday evening, but I wasn’t allowed nowhere near Natalie or my grandchildren.”
With her mother in prison, Natalie watches on television as her daughter’s body is removed from her house:
“They wheeled her out. And it didn’t even look like a body, do you know, it wasn’t big enough for her...
...They shouldn’t have removed her, not with all them strangers and all them cameras and...I should have been with her.”
It’s decided that Natalie will not be allowed to see the badly decomposed remains of her daughter.
Stuart Hazell now tries to explain how Tia died:
“...his account evolved into one of where they had been playing together, Tia had fallen down the stairs, but seemed OK, so he had thought nothing more of it. He had then passed out through drink, as his account, and when he’d woken up he found Tia dead on the floor. He said he felt so guilty that he hadn’t done more for Tia the night before when she’d fallen over, and he couldn’t face telling the grandmother that her only granddaughter was dead, that he hid her body in the loft.”
Nick Scola, Detective Chief Inspector
But during one of the searches of the property, police find two memory cards. One has been particularly well hidden in a doorframe.
“The last shot on the memory card had been deleted, but we recovered it, and that was the incredibly disturbing image that we believe was taken of Tia, in a sexually posed position, after she was dead...This image depicted a naked female, on all fours, with the photograph being taken from behind her.”
Nick Scola, Det Ch Insp
“I expect that he would have kept that as a trophy. He would have continued to get sexual pleasure from that. This was his way of prolonging the enjoyment.”
Dr. Keri Nixon, Forensic Psychologist
Other recovered images are of Hazell himself. He’s posed for the camera, mimicking the sleeping positions of Tia. In others, he’d perform and gyrate. And insert things into his anus.
Thankfully, Christine is cleared of having any involvement and is released.
But Stuart Hazell is still saying he’s innocent.