Stuart Hazell, who yesterday changed his plea and admitted he murdered Tia Sharp, has been sentenced to life in prison.
He will serve a minimum of 38 years inside, a just punishment for the horrific crime he committed - although nothing can ever compensate the Sharp family for their terrible loss.
It seems like only yesterday that news first reached us about Tia’s disappearance. Sadly despite a huge effort by hundreds of local residents, the search for Tia didn’t have a happy ending.
Throughout this tragedy I took comfort from the scale of the community response. Evidence from the trial now suggests that it was this community spirit that played a huge role in securing justice for Tia. If the teams had not been scouring the area daily, Hazell may have attempted to move Tia’s body, making the job of finding her and so catching him all the harder.
My thoughts and prayers are with Tia’s family, the community of New Addington and everyone that has been affected by this tragedy. If there is one lesson we can take from this sad time, it’s this: the unwavering community spirit of New Addington is something we should all be proud of. I know I am.