Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Mourners pay last respects to Tia

Floral tributes arrive at North East Surrey Crematorium in Morden, Surrey, for the funeral of Tia Sharp

Mourners dressed in black and pink have lined the streets to pay their respects to schoolgirl Tia Sharp, who was found dead in her grandmother's home last month.

A procession featuring a horse-drawn carriage, a pink stretched Hummer and a truck covered in floral tributes made its way into North East Surrey Crematorium, in Morden, followed by cars containing relatives.

The carriage, travelling behind a hearse filled with flowers, some spelling out "Tia", carried a pink and white coffin, while the truck displayed a mock-up of a BlackBerry mobile phone with a photo of the 12-year-old's face in place of the screen.

Pink balloons were tied to railings and fences in the streets around the cemetery in tribute to Tia and mourners dressed in black and pink at the request of the family.

Tia's body was discovered at her grandmother Christine Sharp's home in New Addington, south London, last month, more than a week after she was reported missing.

Stuart Hazell, 37, Ms Sharp's partner, is charged with murdering the schoolgirl between August 2 and 11.

He is due to appear in court on November 19.

Ms Sharp, 46, was arrested on suspicion of murder but bailed last month pending further inquiries. Her next-door neighbour, Paul Meehan, 39, was bailed on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Police only discovered Tia's body after several visits to the terraced property, and have apologised to her mother, Natalie Sharp, for the delay.

A serious case review has been launched into Tia's death by Merton Council, which has responsibility for Mitcham, south London, where Tia lived with her mother.