The man accused of murdering Tia Sharp tried to blame neighbours for her death and claimed he had been "fitted up" by police, a court heard on Thursday. Stuart Hazell told a prison officer that someone had moved the 12-year-old's body into his loft and said police should interview his neighbours in New Addington, south London.
On Thursday Paul Leahy, who worked at Belmarsh prison when Hazell was brought there last year, told the Old Bailey: "He said that the police had fitted him up and he claimed that there were six people to see her after him." Hazell, 37, denies murdering the schoolgirl between August 2 and 10 last year. Her body was found in the loft of the home that Hazell shared with her grandmother Christine Bicknell, a week after she died.
It is alleged that he sexually assaulted the 12-year-old before killing her and hiding her body. Hazell told Leahy that the group of houses where he lived had interlinking lofts, and insisted that someone had moved Tia's body into the space above his house. Leahy said Hazell told him: "What the press don't tell you is that all six or eight houses have joint lofts.
He added: "The police have searched my house four times and not found anything, with dogs and some specialist search teams. In my opinion, someone has moved her into my loft." He also pointed the finger at Somali neighbours, claiming they were "bacons" - prison slang for sex offenders. "They were shouting and throwing plates at each other. It's them the police should look at, they are the bacons, not me."
He also said that a paedophile had been grooming Tia by contacting her on her phone. Leahy told the court: "He claimed that Tia had paedophiles hassling her on her iPhone. Apparently, he was 25 years old but messaging her claiming he was 13."
When Hazell arrived at the prison, he said he had been feeling suicidal. The prison officer told the jury that Hazell said: "Since Friday I've been feeling guilty and I just want to kill myself." He said he tried to get razor blades from his bag while in custody at the police station.
The court heard that Hazell told Leahy: "I have a real problem with my anger and when people say wrong things to me, I can flip. I just feel like hurting everyone." Leahy said he told him that he wanted to talk about the court case, but had been advised not to.
The officer told the court: "He just said 'It's been going round in my head' and he kept having the same nightmares over and over." He also said he was worried about Tia's forthcoming funeral. Hazell told Leahy he had been searching for Tia in the woods, as he knew she used to hang out there. He said he had pictures of the 12-year-old and was showing them to people, asking if they had seen her. "If I killed her, why would I be there? I would have done a runner to Scotland or Germany," Leahy said Hazell told him.
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