Review launched into Tia Sharp's death

 

A serious case review has been launched into the death of 12-year-old Tia Sharp.

The schoolgirl's remains were found hidden at her grandmother Christine Sharp's home in New Addington, south London, last Friday, more than a week after she was reported missing.

Stuart Hazell, 37, her grandmother's partner, appeared in court yesterday charged with her murder.

Merton Council, which has responsibility for Mitcham, where Tia lived with her mother Natalie, said it was "standard procedure" to carry out a review.

Chief executive Ged Curran said: "Our thoughts and condolences go out to all those who knew Tia.

"The local safeguarding children board will now commission a serious case review, the standard procedure in a tragic case such as this. The review will be assisted by the police, health services and local authorities."

Serious Case Reviews are carried out when a child has died to look at the role played by local agencies in the life of that child and their family. The review aims to find out if any lessons can be learned about ensuring children's safety.

The Government's guidance on the matter, Working Together To Safeguard Children, states: "The prime purpose of a Serious Case Review (SCR) is for agencies and individuals to learn lessons to improve the way in which they work both individually and collectively to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

"The lessons learned should be disseminated effectively, and the recommendations should be implemented in a timely manner so that the changes required result, wherever possible, in children being protected from suffering or being likely to suffer harm in the future."

Hazell's arrest followed a massive search for Tia which involved around 100 police officers and countless members of the local community after she was reported missing from her grandmother's home.

Despite visiting the terraced house in The Lindens several times during the week, investigators only found Tia's body on Friday evening and have since apologised to her mother for the delay.

The body is yet to be formally identified but Tia is named as the victim in the murder charge.

A post-mortem examination was paused on Saturday night and is expected to recommence this week. No cause of death has yet been identified.

Hazell was remanded in custody after appearing by video-link at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court, south east London. No plea was entered to the charge, which accuses him of murdering the youngster between August 2 and 11. Hazell is due at the Old Bailey tomorrow.

His 46-year-old partner was arrested on suspicion of murder and later bailed pending further inquiries. Her neighbour, Paul Meehan, 39, has been bailed after being arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Hundreds of floral tributes, toys and cards have been left in Tia's memory near the house in which her body was found.

A note believed to have been left by her 30-year-old mother reads: "Our baby girl, we love you very much and always will. Sorry baby that this has happened, I wish I was there to protect you.

"We know you are safe now and you are at home with us everywhere we go. Love you, mum, dad, Jack and Harry. XXX."

PA

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