Tia Sharp may have been smothered to death
Tia Sharp, the missing schoolgirl who was found dead in her grandmother's loft on Friday, may have been smothered before her body was wrapped in a bed sheet and bin liner and hidden.
The details emerged as Stuart Hazell, the partner of Tia's grandmother Christine Sharp, appeared in a court via video-link accused of murdering the 12-year-old, whose disappearance prompted a huge search by scores of officers and volunteers.
Hazell (37), of New Addington, Surrey, remained at a south London police station for yesterday's hearing and was seen on screens at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court.
Hazell is accused of killing Tia between August 2 and August 11. He spoke only to confirm his name, age and address and to say that he understood the charge against him during the three-minute hearing.
Hazell's partner, Christine Sharp (46), was arrested on suspicion of murder, but bailed until October.
A neighbour, Paul Meehan, was also held on suspicion of assisting an offender and later bailed.
A post-mortem is expected to continue this week before her body is formally identified. DNA tests are also to be carried out.