Tia Sharp: Witness says she was alone after leaving grandmother's house
THE policeman leading the search for 12-year-old Tia Sharp has told the Advertiser the youngster was alone when last seen, despite reports she may not have left her grandmother's home alone.
Detective chief inspector Nick Scola, speaking this morning (Tuesday), said a witness reported Tia as being alone when leaving the New Addington home in The Lindens around lunchtime on Friday.
Last night it was revealed her grandmother's partner, Stuart Hazell, was the last person to speak to her at the home as grandmother, Christine, had gone to work earlier that day.
When asked if Tia may have left The Lindens with Mr Hazell, DCI Scola said: "We have got no witnesses that have seen Tia and her grandfather together on the Friday. We are not aware of any witnesses who have seen them together."
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But he added: "I'm not ruling out anything at the moment, because someone can go somewhere, leave, and come back at a later time, can't they?"
Some national newspapers have reported Mr Hazell told his father, Keith, over the phone that he walked Tia to a tram stop in New Addington after lending her money to buy footwear.
But the Advertiser last night (Monday) also spoke to Tia's tearful mother, Natalie, 31, who also said a witness saw the 12-year-old leave on her own on Friday.
She said: "I have an independent witness that she left on her own walking down the road."
Speaking of the family's heartbreak, who come from Mitcham, she added: "We all feel terrible we think she's been taken but we just don't know. There is no CCTV.
"We know absolutely nothing. I wish to god I could tell you something. My baby girl walked out and she vanished."
Last night police released a CCTV image of the missing 12-year-old outside a Co-op on Featherbed Lane at 4.15pm on Thursday – less than 24 hours before she went missing.
The image shows Tia wearing the same style clothes she was reported to have had on when last seen at midday on Friday.
She had travelled to New Addington on Thursday and was met by Mr Hazell, 37, at East Croydon, who was also the last person to speak to Tia at the home in The Lindens before she left. She was planning to visit the Whitgift Centre in Croydon. It was not unusual for her to stay at her grandmother's for the weekend.
Last night Tia's uncle, David Sharp, also joined the distraught family's pleas at a press conference at Scotland Yard. Mr Sharp, 28, said: "I just want you to come home. You are not in any trouble.
"Anybody who knows where she is or has information please come to us. Phone the police, anything.
"I want to say thank you to the police for doing everything they can and the public for being our support and being out there day and night. I urge you not to stop. I want Tia found."
Last night the family held a moving candlelit procession to encourage Tia to return home. Police are continuing to search the local area and scour CCTV.
Tia was wearing French Connection glasses and had her hair tied back. She left with no phone or Oyster card and had just £10 in her pocket. She was also wearing worn leopard-skin leggings, a yellow top and black and pink Nike trainers. She is slim, white and around 4ft 5in.
Call the incident room at Sutton Police Station on 020 8721 4005 or call charity Missing People on 116 000.