London

Tia Sharp trial: Stuart Hazell letter read to court

The man accused of murdering Tia Sharp wrote to his father that he had made "one mistake" and his "whole world collapsed", his trial has heard.

Stuart Hazell is accused of murdering 12-year-old Tia before putting her body in the loft of the south London home he shared with her grandmother.

The letter, written in prison, was topped with the words "forgive me" and a sad face, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Hazell, 37, denies murder and sexual assault.

He claims Tia died in an accident and he hid her body in panic.

Mr Hazell wrote to his father Keith from Belmarsh prison in August last year and the note was intercepted by prison staff.

'God have mercy'

The letter read: "What happened I will explain in time, but put it this way, it was an accident and I panicked.

"Stupid I know but for my stupidity I'm looking at 15 to 18 years. I regret it every second of every day.

"I think about ending my life because if I don't someone will, that's definite."

The letter went on: "God I hate myself. I should have gone about this a different way, told the police everything.

Image caption Tia Sharp was reported missing on 3 August

"They're trying to say it was sexual but I promise you it wasn't.

"May God have mercy on my soul even though I don't deserve it."

Forensic scientist Daniel Beaumont told the court a "small, heavy" stain of Tia's blood was found on a belt belonging to Mr Hazell.

A second stain on the belt contained the DNA of at least three people, but mainly that of Mr Hazell and Tia, he said.

The court also heard how the accused was seen in a CCTV clip in a convenience store in Morden, south London, as police were looking for him.

Prasanna Jayakumar said he looked "emotional" and "struggling to cope" when he came into her shop to buy a half-bottle of vodka on two occasions.

Mr Hazell said he was looking for his granddaughter.

Ms Jayakumar said: "He was asking me to help him find her, and if I saw or heard anything to tell him and let him know."

The trial continues.

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