Tia Sharp death: Police consider smothering theory

Stuart Hazell
Image caption Stuart Hazell did not enter a plea to the charge

Police investigating the death of Tia Sharp are examining the possibility the schoolgirl had been smothered.

A post-mortem on the body found in her grandmother Christine Sharp's house in New Addington, Croydon, on Friday, is expected to recommence this week.

BBC Home Affairs Correspondent Danny Shaw said: "It is understood there was bruising to her body."

Stuart Hazell, 37, of New Addington, was remanded in custody after appearing at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court.

Mr Hazell who has been accused of murdering Tia, appeared via video-link from Sutton police station.

No plea was entered to the charge, which accuses Mr Hazell of murdering the girl between 2 and 11 August.

He confirmed his name, date of birth, and address as The Lindens, New Addington, where the body was found.

Image caption Tia was found in the loft of the house

Mr Hazell was arrested on Friday, soon after a body was removed from the house in south London he shares with Tia's 46-year-old grandmother.

Tia, 12, was reported missing on 3 August and was last seen at the house in New Addington, Croydon.

Although police are still waiting for formal identification of the body found on Friday, the victim is named in the murder charge as Tia.

Mr Hazell will appear at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, with a further date for a preliminary hearing, recorded as 19 November.

Christine Sharp, who was arrested on suspicion of murder, and a 39-year-old man, arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, have both been bailed to return to a south London police station, in October.

On Saturday, Scotland Yard apologised to Tia's mother, Natalie, from Mitcham, in south London, over the time it took to find the body at Ms Sharp's house, blaming "human error"

Meanwhile, it has emerged the body was found in a black bed sheet in a black bag in the loft of the house.

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