Man is questioned over murder of girl, 12, in Manchester

Schoolgirl found stabbed and throttled; it is thought the man is her uncle
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The Independent Online

A man aged 37 was being questioned yesterday about the death of a schoolgirl found stabbed and throttled in a bedroom.

The body of Tia Rigg, 12, was found on Saturday afternoon at an end-of- terrace home on an estate in Cheetham, Manchester, after emergency services received a 999 call. She was "clearly dead" when police reached the house and had suffered repeated stab wounds to the chest and neck and strangulation injuries.

The man, described as a loner and named locally as John Maden, is thought to be the uncle of the dead girl. Tia was a Manchester United fan who had reportedly visited the house to watch the football match against Chelsea on television.

Detective Superintendent Mary Doyle, who is leading the murder investigation for Greater Manchester Police, said: "The family are devastated, the world is falling apart for them. They are finding it difficult to come to terms with what's happened. It is very raw for them. They will probably never get over it."

Tia is thought to have died less than an hour before her body was discovered, said Det Supt Doyle, who added that when officers found the girl there was nothing that could be done to save her. "They were confronted with Tia's body in the house having suffered significant injuries. She was clearly dead at the time and there was another person at that address," she said. "There were injuries related to strangulation and also she has been stabbed.

"Tia was a happy, normal, healthy 12-year-old girl, she had friends, socialised normally," she added. "She was in the flush of youth, it's just an absolute tragedy. All murders are terrible but when it's a 12-year-old girl, it's just horrendous."

Police refused to confirm the identity of the 37-year-old suspect but said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the girl's death. The girl's parents are Lynn and Lee Rigg, who are understood to be separated. Tia lived with her mother and grandparents in a house a short distance from the property where she died. Lesley Peers, a friend of the family, described the girl as "a beautiful little angel" who helped her mother look after her younger siblings: a sister and two brothers.

Laura Norrey said she used to babysit for Tia and said: "She was such a beautiful girl. Tia would have done well in life. She was going to do well and now she can't."

John Fisher, a neighbour, added: "Tia was smashing. This is a rough estate and it's not the sort of place to raise a child. There are always police around here and there are lots of drugs."

A commemorative Facebook page was set up for friends to pay tribute to Tia and had by yesterday evening attracted more than 780 members. One message, by Chris Breeze, said: "r.i.p. tia god bless you. no one can hurt you ever again babe. god has another beautiful angel."

Another, registered as Caaprice Wriight ×, wrote: "omg R.I.P tia :'( loveyouloads, you'll never be forgotten !xxxxxxxx." And a third, posted by Emma Rene Louise Jolly, said: "R.I.P Tiaaaaaaa ? ? ? x x x x The Best Ones Always Gooo :( :'( x."