Taxpayers landed with £67,000 legal aid bill for the monster who murdered Tia

  • Stuart Hazell, 37, initially denied killing the 12-year-old
  • But he changed his plea five days into the Old Bailey trial

By Stephen Wright

|

Taxpayers have been landed with a £67,000 legal aid bill by paedophile Stuart Hazell – who put the family of Tia Sharp through a murder trial before eventually admitting the crime.

Despite overwhelming evidence, he initially denied killing the 12-year-old, but he changed his plea five days into the Old Bailey trial in May.

Hazell, the 37-year-old boyfriend of Tia's grandmother, Christine Bicknell, was jailed for a minimum of 38 years.

Jailed: Killer Stuart Hazell eventually admitted murdering Tia Sharp
Stuart Hazell eventually admitted murdering Tia Sharp (pictured)

Jailed: Killer Stuart Hazell (left) eventually admitted murdering Tia Sharp (right)

Details of his legal bill are likely to deepen the row surrounding taxpayer-funded defence costs. Last month it emerged that Mark Bridger, who murdered April Jones, received £150,000 from the taxpayer while dragging her distraught family through the courts.

The former slaughterman, 48, who kept child pornography and pictures of dead youngsters on his laptop, abducted and murdered five-year-old April in October 2012 before butchering and disposing of her body.

 

Two months earlier Hazell smothered Tia in the early hours after being left alone to babysit her while Miss Bicknell worked overnight at a care home.

He photographed the schoolgirl's naked dead body before wrapping it in sheets and bin liners and hiding it in the loft, where it was found a week later during the fourth police search of the house in New Addington, South London.

Hazell, the 37-year-old boyfriend of Tia's grandmother, Christine Bicknell, was jailed for a minimum of 38 years. He is pictured here being interviewed by ITV before Tia's body was found

Hazell, the 37-year-old boyfriend of Tia's grandmother, Christine Bicknell, was jailed for a minimum of 38 years. He is pictured here being interviewed by ITV before Tia's body was found

After the murder, he told Miss Bicknell that Tia had gone shopping in Croydon and had left without her phone. He later claimed she had died in an accident.

But Hazell's DNA was found on her clothes and her blood was found on his belt, leading the prosecution to accuse him of sexually assaulting Tia before her death.

In the weeks before the murder, he had repeatedly photographed and filmed the 12-year-old as she slept. Evidence of his obsession with child porn also undermined his story. Despite the mass of evidence, Hazell insisted he was innocent, forcing the case all the way to the Old Bailey and exposing Tia's family to the appalling details of what happened to her.

Following a Freedom of Information request, the Ministry of Justice revealed that Hazell's attempt to dodge justice had cost £67,341 in legal aid.

The ministry said anyone could apply for legal aid but it was 'determined' to bring down costs.

A spokesman added: 'At a time when everyone has to tighten their belts, we can't ignore the fact that legal aid is costing hardworking taxpayers too much. We are determined to tackle this.'

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

A very hard up 37. He look sin his 50s.

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I'm not paying that. That's disturbing.

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And the alternative is a legal system where only the rich can afford to defend themselves in court. Is that what we want?

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How can this man be allowed to claim legal aid? I know people who have never been in trouble with the law in their lives and been refused legal aid. Welcome to soft upside down Britain.

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make him pay it back by making him do prison work until its all payed back, after all he has plenty of time.

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I sincerely trust that during his stay in prison he is well looked after by those lonely souls that seek love

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Who else is going. To pay, him!

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I know it wont get our money back,but a bullet would stop any further waste of it on this scum.

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Kill him too

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Can we hang him and get some proper justice for Tia rather than foot the bill

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