The man who allegedly murdered schoolgirl Tia Sharp told a prison officer her death was an accident and insisted “I’m not like Ian Huntley [the Soham murderer]”, a court has heard.
Warren Fegan, who was was working at Belmarsh jail when Stuart Hazell was taken there last August, told the Old Bailey that the 37-year-old denied “anything sexual” had happened between him and Tia. Mr Hazell denies sexually assaulting and killing the 12-year-old between 2 and 10 August.
Mr Fegan said: “He was saying ‘I’m not like Ian Huntley, it was nothing sexual, I’m not a nonce’. He was saying that the press was trying to make it look like it was sexual but it wasn’t. He was saying he loved his stepchildren [sic]. He said it was an accident, she had fallen down stairs and broken her neck.”
Prosecutors claim Mr Hazell killed Tia and hid her body in the loft of the house he shared with her grandmother, Christine Bicknell in New Addington, Surrey. Mr Fegan said: “He said he didn’t know what to do and he picked her up and took her upstairs and laid her on the bed, and he thought she would get better. He didn’t know what to do, so he wrapped her in a sheet and put her in the loft.”
He said Mr Hazell was full of remorse. “He asked me how hard it would be to prove not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter,” the prison officer told the court.
Mr Fegan said that when Mr Hazell was assessed at Belmarsh, the risk of him harming himself was “at the far extreme”. “He really wanted to kill himself. He was saying he was sorry and he felt guilty.”
Prison officer Paul Leahy told the court that Hazell had said his neighbours should be investigated, and that he was “fitted up”.
The case continues.