Grandmother held after UK girl’s body foundComment on this story
The grandmother of tragic 12-year-old Tia Sharp has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that 46-year-old Christine Sharp, who has a tattoo of Tia's name on her foot, was arrested on suspicion of murder on Friday - she remains in custody.
Paul Meehan, a 39-year-old neighbour of Christine Sharp, was also arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
The arrests came after a huge manhunt saw Tia's grandmother's boyfriend, 37-year-old Stuart Hazell, arrested on Friday night following a tip-off from a member of the public.
Police have been heavily criticised after Tia's body was found hidden at her grandmother's New Addington home near Croydon in south London a week after she was declared missing, despite four police searches being carried out on the property.
Police on Saturday apologised to Tia's mother Natalie for the “distress and concern” caused by the delay in finding the body.
It emerged that police had searched the area where the body was eventually found without discovering anything.
Area Commander Neil Basu said: “An early review has been conducted and it is now clear that human error delayed the discovery of the body within the house.
“We have apologised to Tia's mother that our procedures did not lead to the discovery of the body on this [the third] search.
“A continuing review and examination of our search processes will be undertaken to ensure such a failing is not repeated.”
Cops have also been slammed for allowing Hazell to go missing for several hours before he was caught.
Tia's “step-grandfather” was caught after being spotted buying a bottle of vodka and a lighter at a mini-market during his eight-hour disappearance.
An 11-year-old girl recognised him from the news and told her stepfather, who alerted police.
Witnesses said he appeared to be drunk and was calling out: “Have you seen Tia?” before he was held.
Only the day before Tia's body was found, Hazell gave an emotional TV interview insisting he was innocent and describing her as a “happy-go-lucky golden angel”.
He broke down on Thursday afternoon as he complained people were “pointing fingers” at him and claimed he “loved her to bits”.
“Did I do anything to Tia? No, I bloody didn't. I'd never think of it, I loved her to bits like she is my own daughter,” he said.
Hazell gave what he claimed was a step-by-step account of his movements in the hours before he said Tia left and disappeared.
Police are still to confirm that the body discovered is Tia, and have refused to discuss where they found the remains even though they used ladders to access the loft.
Detectives are thought to be investigating whether Tia's body could have been moved between the roof spaces of neighbouring properties.
There are fears that the seven-day delay in discovering Tia could mean vital evidence inside her grandmother Christine's home has been lost.
Dozens of people, including relatives, friends, media and police entered the small terrace council home during the search for the missing girl.
Dozens of candles, bunches of flowers and tributes have been left outside the home where the body was discovered. - The Independent