Tia was discovered wrapped in a black bed sheet in a black bag in the loft of the home that Hazell shared with his partner, Tia’s grandmother Christine Sharpe, 46.

Hazell, 37, appeared via video-link for the court hearing, during which he was asked whether he understood the charge against him: that he had murdered Tia Sharp some time between August 2 and 11.

He replied: “Yes I do.”

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for November 19.

Tia was reported missing by her family on August 3, with Hazell believed to be the last person to have seen her alive. He claimed to have watched the schoolgirl leave the house that morning while grandmother Christine finished a night shift as a carer. Christine raised the alarm at 6pm that evening when Tia failed to show up for dinner.

Hazell made emotional pleas along with Tia’s relatives for the schoolgirl to come home.

The body was found during the fourth search of the home. While some have been quick to claim police ‘bungled’ the search for Tia when she was at the home all along, others speculate the body was moved around in the days following her disappearance.

Christine Sharp was also arrested on suspicion of murder but later released on bail. A neighbour, Paul Meehan, was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, but also bailed. Reports suggest he corroborated the story that Tia left the house alone on the Friday morning.

A cause of death has not yet been determined.

Image: Getty