It is the first time that the body, discovered by police during the fourth search of the house, has been confirmed as schoolgirl Tia’s.

A coroner opened the inquest into her death today with a five-minute hearing.

No further details were given, including the cause of death.

Detective Sergeant Eric Sword, of the Metropolitan Police’s specialist crime operations unit, told coroner Roy Palmer that the body was Tia’s.

Asked if the body had been formally identified, Sword replied: “From the checks that we have been able to carry out, yes.”

“And that body is that of Tia Sharp?” the coroner continued.

“That is correct,” Sword replied.

Sword added that the post-mortem examination remains ongoing.

The inquest has now been adjourned until a later date. The coroner said that if the man charged with Tia’s murder, Stuart Hazell, were to require a second opinion on the post-mortem, he would be able to request one by a pathologist of his choice.

Hazell, 37, the boyfriend of Tia’s grandmother Christine, 46, has been charged with the schoolgirl’s killing. He is believed to have been the last person to see her alive.

According to The Huffington Post, Hazell’s barrister is the same who defended Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell. Lord Alex Carlisle’s normally costly services are available through legal aid.

Image: Getty