2 more arrests in UK girl's murder

2012-08-12 08:44
Tia Sharp (AP)

Tia Sharp (AP)

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London - British police said on Saturday they have made two more arrests in the case of a 12-year-old girl whose body was found a week after she went missing in a house they had already searched several times.

Scotland Yard said in a statement that a 46-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of murder and a man, 39, was arrested on suspicion of "assisting an offender" in the case of Tia Sharp, whose body was discovered at her grandmother's house - her last known whereabouts - after she disappeared on Friday last week in south London.

The suspects were not identified by name in line with British practice. Police did not disclose what relationship, if any, the suspects had with the victim.

Stuart Hazell, the 37-year-old partner of Tia's grandmother Christine Sharp, has already been arrested following a city-wide manhunt.

Police later apologised for the delay in finding the body, blaming human error and highlighting that they had also apologised to the girl's mother for failing to find her body sooner. Police said they had previously searched the address where the body was found several times, and found nothing.

The discovery of a body on Friday - one week after Tia went missing - led to anger and disbelief in Britain's press. The family's frantic search and appeals had even managed to displace much of the feel-good Olympic coverage from the front pages of the nation's tabloids, with at one point The Sun offering £25 000 for the tip leading to Tia's safe return.

The Daily Mirror newspaper asked its readers "WHY DID IT TAKE COPS 8 DAYS?" with the figure 8 outlined in red. The Daily Mail was even more critical, writing under a bold-faced "SHAMBLES" headline: "Despite a week-long hunt by 100 police with dogs, Tia is found dead in her granny's house, which officers had searched THREE times."

Police have not specified exactly where in the house Tia's body was found, but Scotland Yard Commander Neil Basu said on Friday they had been juggling several different leads with detectives sifting through 60 sightings of the missing girl, 300 calls, and 800 hours of surveillance footage.

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