Tia: Neighbour denies time-wasting
A neighbour of the grandmother of murdered schoolgirl Tia Sharp has denied wasting police time.
Paul Meehan, 40, from Croydon, south London, appeared at Croydon Magistrates' Court and entered a not guilty plea.
He is accused of causing wasteful employment of the police by making a false report that he had information linked to an inquiry on August 6 last year.
Wearing a dark suit, shirt and tie, he spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address and deny the offence during the short hearing.
He was released on bail and will next appear at the same court on May 3 for a one-day trial.
Meehan is the neighbour of Tia's grandmother, Christine Sharp, whose boyfriend, Stuart Hazell, is due to stand trial for the 12-year-old's murder later this year.
Tia's body was found in the loft of her grandmother's house in New Addington, south London, in August last year, more than a week after she went missing.
Hazell, 37, from New Addington, is charged with murdering the schoolgirl between August 2 and 11. He is due to face trial in May.
Meehan allegedly made a statement to police that he had seen 12-year-old Tia on the day she went missing.
Tia's father and grandfather, who are both called Steven Carter, were at Croydon Magistrates' Court for Thursday's hearing.