Neighbour of Tia Sharp's grandmother convicted of wasting police time
Paul Meehan told detectives he saw her walk past his home, after she had died
Monday 05 August 2013
A neighbour of the grandmother of Tia Sharp was today convicted of wasting police time by giving a false statement that he had seen her alive.
Bus driver Paul Meehan, 40, who lived next door to Christine Bicknell and her murderer boyfriend Stuart Hazell, told detectives investigating the schoolgirl's disappearance he saw her walk past his home in New Addington on August 3 last year.
He told officers he was "100% sure" he saw her but the 12-year-old was already dead.
Today, at Croydon Magistrates' Court, Meehan was convicted of "causing wasteful employment of the police by making a false report".
Hazell was jailed in May for a minimum of 38 years for killing Tia.
The court heard there was no suggestion Meehan was in league with Hazell.
Meehan remained impassive as the verdict was delivered.
However, as the hearing adjourned he sat down and buried his head in his hands.
The last confirmed sighting of Tia was on Thursday August 2 at 4.30pm.
She was murdered some time that night going into the following morning.
On Monday August 6 as the missing 12-year-old's family were frantic with worry, Meehan told police he had seen her walk past him the previous Friday while he was in his garden.
He gave a detailed and “vivid” description of what she was wearing, the court heard, which delayed police from interviewing Hazell earlier.
But police had spoke to Meehan about the case three times before he finally said he saw her.
His explanation is that he “confabulated” seeing her - his brain mistakenly filled in the blanks in good faith.
Jocelyn Ledward, prosecuting, said Meehan had “deliberately lied” possibly to put himself in an important position in what was then a missing persons inquiry.
She said it was possible that he was attention seeking and was “puffed up” by being important to the inquiry.
District Judge Karen Hammond said Meehan was unreliable.
She said: “I am satisfied so that I am sure, that is to say, beyond reasonable doubt.
“The offence is made out.
“The verdict therefore can only be one of guilty.”
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
Winston Churchill: From accusations of anti-Semitism to the blunt refusal that led to the deaths of millions
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness