Stuart Hazell escapes a life sentence for murdering Tia Sharp
STUART Hazell, 37, will very likely die in prison. Tia Sharp’s killer has been sent down for a minimum of 38 years. But he didn’t get a whole life tariff. Why not? Mr Justice Nicol said there was lack of “absolutely conclusive evidence” that the murder was sexually motivated. He said:
“It is an aggravating feature that your victim was so young. So too is your abuse of trust. Tia’s mother allowed her to come and stay with you because she trusted you to look after her. Christine [Bicknell, Tia’s grandmother] was at work that night, she trusted you to look after her. By first sexually assaulting and then killing Tia you betrayed that trust in the most grievous way possible.”
“The records of your internet searching on your mobile phone make abundantly clear that you were looking out for pornographic pictures of pre-teen girls, which Tia was; pornographic pictures of girls who wore glasses, which Tia did; even pictures involving incest. Tia was not your blood relation, but there was the bond between you because of your relationship with Christine, and from time to time you referred to yourself as Tia’s grandfather.
“You took pictures of Tia while she was asleep. In other contexts they would have been of no interest, but your internet activity included searches for pornographic pictures of young girls sleeping.”
But he says he could not be certain the murder was sexually motivated. Had he have ben ce3tain, Hazell would have got life.
“Your counsel says that you wished to avoid causing further distress to Tia’s family. That is very commendable, but they have had to endure four days of a very public trial. It was necessary for the prosecution to lay out for the jury your sexual interest in Tia and for the jury to see the photograph of Tia naked. Your plea of guilty has spared the family none of that. It may be the first act of remorse, as your counsel says, but because it comes so late I am afraid it will earn you only the most modest of credit.”
Photo: Steven Carter, father of murdered school girl Tia Sharp leaves the Old Bailey in London after Stuart Hazell was sentenced to 38 years for her murder.